Guest Post: Ash Bishop – INTERGALACTIC EXTERMINATORS INC

Happy Friday, my bookish peeps, and welcome to Fall 2022. I know that there are plenty of good books, often excellent books, released throughout the year, but there’s just something about the cooler weather that calls for a comfy blanket, hot drink, and a good book. If you’re interested in something a little different, then please help me welcome Ash Bishop, author of Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc. The title and cover alone are enough to pique my interest. Mr. Bishop will be discussing with us characters and the importance of inner conflict. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share. Thank you, Mr. Bishop, for taking the time to join us today, the blog is now all yours.

On Inner Conflict
by Ash Bishop

My debut novel, Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc is about a young man, Russ Wesley, who gets offered a job hunting dangerous aliens. A squad of ragtag misfits wants him to join their ranks. He’ll be a space exterminator tasked with removing displaced creatures that are doing harm to their new ecosystem. Remember the way Ridley Scott’s Alien laid its eggs in people’s stomachs and eventually the newborn critter had to burst its way out? That’s the kind of harmful cross-species behavior they want Russ to help them stop. It seems like an interesting, albeit dangerous, job. So why doesn’t Russ want to take it?

Russ is from Earth, and he doesn’t like responsibility very much. He struggled in school, probably due to a generous helping of undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. He doesn’t have much of a relationship with his father. Ironically, his mother was too busy working hard to reinforce any kind of work ethic. He begins the novel avoiding as much responsibility as he can. Instead of putting down roots anywhere, he drifts around the United States picking up temporary jobs and looking for ways to entertain himself. He uses disposable cell phones expressly so he can throw them away once too many people get his number.

There’s a sweet freedom to this lifestyle but there’s also a heavy cost. He’s avoiding all the complicated messiness of responsibility, but he’s also removing himself from the possibility of making deep connections, enriching other people’s lives, helping, mattering. Though it’s hard for Russ to articulate, he understands that up to this point, he’s been wasting his life.

When I was younger, I was really attracted to nomadic, lawless, emotionally distant characters. Puberty was complicated enough; I didn’t need my heroes to be navigating their own complex feelings. I was a big fan of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, with his acerbic wit and powerful indifference. Chandler never let anything get to him. He’d seen the worst of humanity and he knew that eventually, everyone would disappoint him. As such, he just muscled through the mess of mankind, searching for the elusive “truth.” I saw the same power in Batman. In the corniest of his comics, he palled around with Robin and Alfred, but the best stories were just Batman hunting for crime in the mean streets of Gotham, swinging from a bat-cable and being bat-ass. His aloof attitude and emotional distance made him virtually untouchable to the things that scared young Ash Bishop the most. I’m not talking about the Joker or Scarecrow. I’m talking about emotional connections, feelings.

Years later I’m now a father with two kids of my own who read Batman comics. A little while ago, on the recommendation of a friend, I picked up Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, thinking it would be fun to wade back into the fantasy of unobstructed freedom I’d so appreciated during my younger years. Reacher wanders around the United States, remaining loyal to his friends but only from a safe distance. He usually doesn’t come to their aid until they’re already dead. The books are clever and well written but I stopped reading midway through the second one. Despite his constant, violent altruism, Reacher’s emotional and physical distancing, didn’t appeal to me anymore.

So why does my main character begin the novel wandering the United States in a lifestyle so similar to Reacher’s? Because you don’t want to start your characters fully rounded. You want them to learn, and grow over the course of the story. You want them to have to fight against their own limiting impulses and become better people.

In the second chapter, Russ learns of his beloved Grandfather’s death. He drives from Louisiana to Wyoming to attend the funeral and his grandmother is very happy to see him. She’s been caring for her dying husband, alone, and she’s exhausted and her business is collapsing. Russ sweeps in, invigorated and ready to help her pick up the pieces. The other men in town admire Russ’s carefree lifestyle. They are shouldering so many burdens, paying their mortgage, running their own business, and doing their part to care for their complex families. As one tells Russ, “This is a gift, what you’re doing to help your grandma. But take my advice: avoid putting down roots as long as you can. Roots are just a fancy word for life-crushing responsibility. I didn’t have this gray hair until I had roots.”

Russ appreciates the compliment, but is it good advice? He’s sitting on an unsigned work contract of his own. One that will make him enough money to support his grandmother more permanently. Better yet, it will transport him to the farthest reaches of space and see him take incredible risks and make lasting friendships. If only he can muster the courage to walk away from the fantasy of Batman, Marlowe, and Reacher…

Pick up Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc after Sept 6th to enjoy the ride.

Intergalactic Exterminators Inc

by Ash Bishop

September 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Finding work is easy. Staying alive is a little bit harder.

Intergalactic Exterminators Inc by Ash Bishop
When Russ Wesley finds an unusual artifact in his grandfather’s collection of rare antiquities, the last thing he expects is for it to draw the attention of a ferocious alien from a distant planet. Equally surprising is the adventurous team of intergalactic exterminators dispatched to deal with the alien threat. They’re a little wild, and a little reckless. Worse yet, they’re so impressed with Russ’s marksmanship that they insist he join their squad . . . whether he wants to or not.

 

Praise for Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc:

“This book is so much fun it ought to be illegal in all known galaxies. Ash Bishop has written a wildly imagined, deeply felt, swashbuckling page turner. I loved it.”

Jesse Kellerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning

 

 

Book Details

Genre: Science Fiction
Published by: Camcat Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Number of Pages: 416
ISBN10: 0744305616 (hardcover)
ISBN13: 9780744305616 (hardcover)
ASIN: B0B75QDF4D (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B09RJMDDPB (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books

Author Bio:

Ash Bishop

Ash Bishop is a lifetime reader and a lifetime nerd, loving all things science fiction and fantasy. He has been a high school English teacher and worked in the video game industry, as well as in educational app development. He even used to fetch coffee for Quentin Tarantino during the production of the film Jackie Brown. Bishop currently produces script coverage for a major Hollywood studio, but he spends his best days at home in Southern California with his wonderful wife and two wonderful children. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. This is his debut novel.

Find Our Ash Bishop Online:

AshBishop.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @Ashlbishop
Instagram – @ashlbishop
Twitter – @AshLBishop
Facebook
TikTok – @ashlbishop

Tour Host Participants:

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Guest Post: C.L. Tolbert – SANCTUARY

Good day, book people. I’ve recently noticed that I’m perfectly willing to suspend my belief and rational thought (to a certain extent) when reading fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, or even romance stories. However, when I’m reading mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and even romantic suspense, I want the stories and characters to be wholly realistic and the action to be credible. If the story is too far outside of my brain’s comfort zone, I have a hard time enjoying the story. I know, strange reading quirk, but there you have it. Today, I’m pleased to welcome C.L. Tolbert, author of Sanctuary, part of the Thornton Mystery series, back to the blog. Ms. Tolbert will discuss the importance of “keeping it real” or realistic fiction. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share, follow along with the tour to learn more about this book and its author, and don’t forget to grab yourself a copy of Sanctuary for your fall reading. Thank you, Ms. Tolbert, for your visit, the blog is now all yours.

Keeping It Real
by C.L. Tolbert

I’ve always preferred realistic fiction. I like to emerge myself in the setting and the characters’ lives, and for me, that means the story must be credible. The reader must believe that what unfolds in the story could actually happen. Even though it was non-fiction, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which may be the best true crime story ever written, is an icon and a guide for what I’d like to achieve in a story.

But are mysteries realistic fiction? The short answer is, they don’t have to be. Mysteries can be fictional or nonfictional, and may even include supernatural topics, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.

When I was five years old, my favorite TV show was Perry Mason, with Raymond Burr. My parents didn’t allow me to see it, which made it even more tantalizing, but my aunt did when she babysat my brother and me. I was impressed with Mason’s smooth approach, his brilliance in the courtroom, and the fact that, even though he usually represented the underdog or the disadvantaged, he always won.

But even though I enjoyed the intricate plot lines on the show, I knew, even at age five, that courtroom confessions, which Mason often relied on to win, seemed unlikely. I didn’t know the name for this anomaly when I was five, but it was my first confrontation with “deus ex machina,” a plot device where an unsolvable problem in a storyline is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and unlikely occurrence, such as the sudden confession. Even then, I wanted the facts and structure of the story to be realistic, not contrived.

Perry Mason also had a couple of sidekicks, one of which was Paul Draper, his intrepid private investigator. Paul didn’t hesitate to rough up witnesses so that they would ‘spill the beans.’ After a few years of watching Drake misbehave, I developed a strong distrust of private investigators until, as an attorney, I had to hire one for a case. My investigator was a retired police officer, and a stalwart follower of proper procedures. He’d never have roughed up a witness, nor would the majority of investigators.

When I was eight, my brother inherited the Hardy Boys books from a cousin and I read all thirty-two books one summer. I was surprised that the Hardy Boys would often find themselves breaking into houses and buildings to solve crimes, and, later on, as a thirteen-year-old, I appreciated that Agatha Christie was more careful with procedure. Poirot and Miss Marple weren’t the sort to trespass.

After retiring from the practice of law, I started working on a short story that featured Emma Thornton, a young, single-mother-attorney, as the protagonist. I entered the story in the Georgia State Bar Journal’s fiction contest, and, several months later, was very surprised to discover that I had won. This win gave me the confidence I needed to turn the short story into a full novel.

I knew I had a good story to tell. After teaching school for ten years, and practicing law for another thirty-five, I had plenty of war stories. But I was worried about how to keep my writing realistic and still capture the readers’ attention and interest. My protagonist, Emma Thornton, as an attorney and law professor, would spend the majority of her day bogged down in work that is boring, redundant, and even mundane. Lawyers spend more time researching and writing than anything else. They ask the same question to different people over and over in an attempt to get to the truth of the matter. This sort of reality would put readers to sleep quickly.

Lawyers are also bound to follow the rules of ethics or risk disbarment. So, neither Emma nor any person who worked on cases with her could ever threaten a witness, as Perry Mason’s Paul Drake, or become involved in Hardy Boys-like trespass. How could I turn Emma’s routine-filled and occasionally dull life into an exciting book, and still maintain a modicum of (hopefully edgy) realism?

One truth about trial lawyers is that they love a fight, and Emma is no exception. They also love arguing, and asking carefully wrought questions designed to expose the theory of their case. They also love trial. The courtroom is their temple. So, in each of the books in the Thornton Mystery Series, Emma spends the majority of her time preparing for trial, analyzing evidence, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing autopsy reports, and sometimes arguing with the DA. A couple of the books have courtroom hearings. Emma works for a law school where she directs the Homeless Clinic, and has no money for her own investigations. She, and sometimes her students, do the leg work on her cases.

To keep the story interesting, I gave Emma a personality quirk – specifically, an impulse control problem – and an insatiable curiosity. She also carries, to the extreme, the responsibility of zealously representing her clients, all of which suffer from various societal injustices. Emma’s impulse control problem is subtle, and although she’s aware of it, she never addresses the issue. But the reader may notice that Emma can’t resist pushing her apartment door open when it’s been left ajar by someone other than herself, or climbing up the stairs to spy on an intruder. Emma’s exploits often backfire, and she ends up in trouble at least once or twice a book. Impulse control issues would be a problem for any attorney, but that’s especially true when an attorney is conducting his or her own investigations, as Emma.

The term ‘realistic fiction’ sounds like an oxymoron. But it’s nothing more than the creation of imaginary characters and situations that depict the world and society as they are. Plots highlight social or personal problems that mirror contemporary life. The books in my Thornton Mystery Series, Out From Silence, The Redemption, and Sanctuary, are murder mysteries that take a look at societal injustices and family dysfunction, but in a way that takes the reader on a journey. The books are offered as entertainment, but, hopefully, the reader will learn something along the way.

Sanctuary

by C.L. Tolbert

September 12 – October 8, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

SANCTUARY by C.L. Tolbert book cover

A Thornton Mystery

In Sanctuary, the third book in the Thornton Mystery Series, Emma is back again. This time she’s agreed to represent a former client accused of killing the leader of a suspicious cult in New Orleans.

James Crosby, the charismatic leader of the Japaprajnas, is found dead one late afternoon, his body draped over an iron fence in the courtyard of the nineteenth-century house where he and several cult members work and live. Although police initially presumed his fall was an accident, they quickly discover that James received a lethal dose of a drug before he was pushed from his office balcony.

The next day the police discover a syringe and a substantial amount of the drug which killed James in Stacey Robert’s bedroom. The nineteen-year-old cult member is brought in for questioning, which leads to her arrest. Emma, who had represented Stacey when she was a sixteen-year-old runaway, agrees to take the case.

Convinced she is innocent Emma begins an investigation into the cult and its members. Emma’s questions uncover dangerous secrets, illicit activities, and the exploitation of innocent victims. Emma’s suspicions lead her to the killer’s trail and the case’s final resolution.

Praise for Sanctuary:

“Brace yourself. Deadly personalities, hidden agendas, and long-buried secrets threaten law professor Emma Thornton, after she agrees to defend a terrified young woman accused of murdering the charismatic leader of an oppressive cult. The dark heart of New Orleans has never felt so dangerous.”

Roger Johns, Author of the Wallace Hartman Mysteries

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: July 2022
Number of Pages: 280
ISBN: 9781685121464 (paperback)
ASIN: B0B5YFSL54 (Kindle edition)
Series: The Thornton Mystery Series, Book 3
Book Links: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

 
Author C.L. Tolbert

After winning the Georgia State Bar Journal’s fiction contest in 2010, C.L. Tolbert developed the winning story into a full-scale novel. Out From Silence was published in December of 2019, and is the first novel in the Thornton Mysteries series. Her second book, The Redemption, was published in February of 2021, and Sanctuary, the third book in the series, was published in July of 2022.

Licensed in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia, C.L. practiced law for thirty-five years before retiring to pursue writing. During her legal career, she spent several years teaching at Loyola Law School in New Orleans, where she was the Director of the Homeless Clinic. She also has a Masters of Special Education, and taught in a public school prior to enrolling in law school.

C.L. has two children and three grandchildren, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and schnauzer.

Catch Up With C.L. Tolbert:
www.CLTolbert.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @cltolbertwrites
Twitter – @cltolbertwrites
Facebook – @cltolbertwriter

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Book Spotlight: MEET THE MOON by Kerry L. Malawista

MEET THE MOON by Kerry L. Malawista book coverMeet the Moon by Kerry L. Malawista
ISBN-10: 1646032659 (paperback)
ISBN-13: 9781646032655 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781646032662 (eBook)
ASIN: B09MSK5LCM (Kindle edition)
Release Date: September 15, 2022
Publisher: Fitzroy Books/Regal House Publishing
Genre: Fiction | Young Adult

In 1970, thirteen-year-old Jody Moran wants pierced ears, a kiss from a boy, and more attention from her mother. It’s not fair. Seems like her mother is more worked up about the Apollo 13 astronauts, who may not make it back to earth safely. As it happens, the astronauts are spared a crash landing, but Jody is not, for three days after splashdown, her mother dies in a car accident. Now, Jody will never know if her mother really loved her. Jody’s father has taught them to believe in the “Power of Intention.” Announce what you want to the world to make it happen. But could the power of Jody’s jealousy and anger have caused Mom’s accident? To relieve her guilt and sadness, she devotes herself to mothering her three younger siblings and helping Dad, which quickly proves too much for her, just as persuading quirky Grandma Cupcakes to live with them proves too much for Grandma. That’s when Jody decides to find someone to marry her father, a new mom who will love her best. Jody reads high and low to learn about love, marriage and death. For her adolescent firsts—kiss, bra, and boyfriend—she has the help of her popular older sister, her supportive father, and comical Grandma. But each first, which makes her miss her mother, teaches her that death doesn’t happen just once.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

Advance Praise

“Jody Moran is an endearing guide—funny, smart, word-wise—through this sad and triumphant coming-of-age tale. There is such clarifying honesty here, about grief, friendship, resilience and faith. There is as well a keen and vivid sense of an era that seems more innocent than our own and yet remarkably timeless, perhaps because Kerry Malawista understands so well the enduring grace of family love.” —Alice McDermott, author of Charming Billy (National Book Award), After This (finalist Pulitzer Prize)

“In Meet the Moon Kerry Malawista‘s heroine, Jody Moran, brings us along as she stumbles from 13 to 14, finding her way forward while grieving the sudden death of a mother whose love never seemed quite enough. This beautifully written, sharply observed novel takes us on a journey that is scary, tumultuous, yet grounded always in the love of family. Recreating 1970’s America and the torture and promise of adolescence, Meet the Moon gives us a plucky narrator we want to enfold and never let go.” —Marita Golden, author of The Wide Circumference of Love

“Jody’s just a regular teen, with regular teen things to worry about. But then in a blink, there’s a wreck, a family in shock: Mom’s gone, baby brother is in the hospital. Boyfriends, best friends, teachers, siblings, the neighbor across the street, all have a part in helping Jody adjust—but can they deliver? Jody loves her big rowdy family, but soon sees that sometimes Dads can be dumb, big sisters too bossy, teachers too nosy, and even best friends don’t always get it. In the end, all the strength Jody needs is right inside her warm heart. Kerry Malawista knows that heart, and Meet the Moon rises full over the landscape of great reads for teens and grownups alike.” —Bill Roorbach, author of Life Among Giants, The Remedy for Love, and Lucky Turtle

Meet The Author

Kerry L. Malawista, Ph.D. is a writer and psychoanalyst in Potomac, MD. She is co-chair of New Directions in Writing and founder of the recent project The Things They Carry – offering virtual writing workshops for healthcare and frontline workers. Her essays have appeared nationally in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe, Zone 3, Washingtonian Magazine, The Huffington Post, Bethesda Magazine, Arlington Magazine, The Account Magazine, and Delmarva Review, which nominated her for a Pushcart Prize. She is the co-author of Wearing my Tutu to Analysis and Other Stories (2011), The Therapist in Mourning: From the Faraway Nearby (2013), both published by Columbia University Press, and Who’s Behind the Couch (2017) published by Routledge Press. When the Garden Isn’t Eden: More Psychoanalytic Concepts from Life was published by Columbia University Press in spring 2022 and her novel, Meet the Moon will be released in September 2022 by Regal House Publishing. Her website is KerryMalawista.com.

Connect with the author via website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Giveaway

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway for one (1) print copy of Meet the Moon by Kerry L. Malawista courtesy of Saichek Publicity. This giveaway is limited to residents of the United States and Canada. Any entry from residents outside the United States or Canada will be disqualified. This giveaway is open from 12:01 AM ET on 09/15/2022 through 11:59 PM ET on 9/22/2022. The winner will be selected and announced by 10:00 AM ET on 09/23/2022. Please note that the book will be sent to the winner by Saichek Publicity. Void where prohibited by law.

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Book Spotlight: DEWEY DECIMATED by Allison Brook

 

Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery)
by Allison Brook

 

About Dewey Decimated


Dewey Decimated (A Haunted Library Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Connecticut
Crooked Lane Books (September 6, 2022)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1639100903
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9781639100903
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09N6M1SNP

Librarian Carrie Singleton is back on the case, alongside library ghost Evelyn, in the sixth installment of Agatha Award nominee Allison Brook’s Haunted Library mysteries.

Carrie Singleton is just off a hot string of murder cases centered around the spooky local library in Clover Ridge, Connecticut. She could really use a break—but no such luck, as she; Smoky Joe, the resident cat; and Evelyn, the library’s ghost, are drawn into another tantalizing whodunit.

First, a dead body is found in the basement of the building attached to the library, and it turns out to be Carrie’s fiancé’s Uncle Alec, who Dylan hasn’t seen in years. But Alec has no intention of truly checking out, and his ghost makes itself at home in the library, greatly upsetting the patrons. Carrie and Evelyn work hard to keep Alec out of sight, but what was he doing in Clover Ridge to begin with? And why was he killed?

Meanwhile, the town council, of which Carrie is also a member, is embroiled in a hot-headed debate over the fate of the Seabrook Preserve, a lovely and valuable piece of property that runs along Long Island Sound. Turn it into an upscale park? Sell it to a condo developer? Or keep it as protected land?

As the dispute rages, there’s another murder, this time involving a council member. Could the two murders be connected? And could Carrie be next on the hit list?

Purchase links:  Amazon Penguin Random House B&N Kobo Google Play

About Allison Brook

A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson writes mysteries, romantic suspense, and novels for kids. Her books have received many accolades. As Allison Brook, she writes the Haunted Library series. Death Overdue, the first in the series, was an Agatha nominee for Best Contemporary Novel in 2018. Other mysteries include the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club series and the Twin Lakes series.

Her juvenile novel, Rufus and Magic Run Amok, was an International Reading Association-Children’s Book Council Children’s Choice. And Don’t Bring Jeremy was a nominee for six state awards.

Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her books take place. She loves traveling, reading, doing crossword puzzles and Sudoku, and chatting on FaceTime with her grandkids.

Author Links

Website: http://www.marilynlevinson.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.levinson.10?ref=ts&fref=ts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/161602.Marilyn_Levinson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarilynLevinson
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/marilyn-levinson

Tour Participants

September 6 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

September 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW

September 7 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 7 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 8 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

September 8 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT

September 9 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

September 9 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW

September 10 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

September 10 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

September 10 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

September 11 – Nadaness In Motion – REVIEW

September 12 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

September 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

September 12 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT

September 13 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 14 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

September 14 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW

September 15 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Giveaway

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Guest Post: Valerie Burns – TWO PARTS SUGAR, ONE PART MURDER

Good day, my bookish peeps. I’ve traveled to more than 25 states here in the US (and working on visiting more). I’m not a huge fan of living in small towns (I enjoy all of the cultural options found in larger cities/towns), but there’s nothing quite like the scenery found in cities and towns around the great lakes. I’m incredibly honored to welcome back to the blog, Valerie Burns (aka VM Burns), author of Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder. Ms. Burns will be sharing her thoughts on a coastal Michigan town that’s the setting in her latest series. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about this fictional town and perhaps grab a copy of Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder so you can visit as an armchair traveler. Thank you, Ms. Burns, for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.

Where in the World is New Bison, Michigan?
by Valerie Burns

 

My new Baker Street Mystery series is set in the town of New Bison, Michigan. Never heard of it? That’s because it doesn’t exist. New Bison is a fictional town that I created based on the city of New Buffalo, Michigan. What’s special about New Buffalo? And, why use a fictional town?

New Buffalo is a small, quaint town, located 70 miles east of downtown Chicago at the mouth of the Galien River on Michigan’s west coast just north of the Indiana border. It’s also right on the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The state of Michigan is known for a lot of things, Motown Music, motor city, and home of one of the five great lakes, Lake Michigan. Over the years, the state has experienced its share of economic booms and busts. Many towns around Southwestern Michigan were once home to industries that supported Detroit’s automotive industry. However, as manufacturing migrated from the Midwest to the South and abroad, Michigan’s economy suffered. The state, and particularly Southwestern Michigan, was forced to reinvent itself. Home to one of the five great lakes and more than 129 lighthouses (44 of which are on Lake Michigan), Michigan exploited its natural resources (Pure Michigan if you’ve seen the commercials). Also important to the regional marketing is the fact that only forty nautical miles separate New Buffalo, Michigan from downtown Chicago. That’s 70 miles if you’re traveling by land. Lake Michigan, beaches, and small historic towns make Southwestern Michigan appealing, especially for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Windy City. Lake Front property in Southwestern Michigan was also considerably less expensive than in Chicago, another point in Michigan’s favor.

Of the five great lakes, Lake Michigan is the second largest when it comes to volume, but the only one of the five that is entirely within the United States. Lake Michigan isn’t the cleanest of the Great Lakes, but clarity isn’t always a great thing when it comes to fish. Decades ago, the murky waters of Lake Michigan weren’t very appealing for swimming and kayaking, but the marine life thrived, and Lake Michigan enjoyed a robust $7-billion-dollar fishing industry. Concerted efforts to clean Lake Michigan and the emergence of invasive mussels which remove green algae (the base of the food chain), has devastated the lake’s marine life. Today, the shores of Lake Michigan have crystal clear water, clean sandy beaches, and quaint lighthouses, but the effects of the clean water on the fishing industry is yet to be determined.

When looking for a location for my new cozy, I felt New Buffalo was perfect. So, why did I change the name? I changed the name from New Buffalo to New Bison because I write murder mysteries. People will die here. The last thing I want for the town of New Buffalo, is to be avoided as dangerous. Although, there are no guarantees. Even Cabot Cove, Maine is a fictional city, the UK Daily Mail still labeled it as “The most dangerous place on earth…” (https://bit.ly/3zDrlPi). Cabot Cove, home to fictional author and amateur sleuth, Jessica Fletcher, had more than its share of murders, despite the lovely New England charm. Anyone familiar with Southwestern Michigan will recognize that New Bison is based on New Buffalo. I hope readers will be intrigued by descriptions of the quaint downtown, sandy beaches, beautiful Lake Michigan sunsets, and friendly locals. Pick up a copy of my new Baker Street Mystery, Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder, and get acquainted with New Bison, Michigan.

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
by Valerie Burns

About Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder

Two Parts Sugar, One Part Murder (A Baker Street Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Michigan
Kensington Cozies (August 30, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 272 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496738225
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496738226
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09MZTN6YC

In this delectable new cozy mystery series, social media maven Maddy Montgomery’s perfectly ’grammable life has come undone, and she’s #StartingOver in a tiny town with one giant problem—a killer on the loose . . .

When Maddy Montgomery’s groom is a no-show to their livestream wedding, it’s a disaster that no amount of filtering can fix. But a surprise inheritance offers a chance to regroup and rebrand—as long as Maddy is willing to live in her late, great-aunt Octavia’s house in New Bison, Michigan, for a year, running her bakery and caring for a 250-pound English mastiff named Baby.

Maddy doesn’t bake, and her Louboutins aren’t made for walking giant dogs around Lake Michigan, but the locals are friendly and the scenery is beautiful. With help from her aunt’s loyal friends, aka the Baker Street Irregulars, Maddy feels ready to tackle any challenge, including Octavia’s award-winning cake recipes. That is, until New Bison’s mayor is fatally stabbed, and Maddy’s fingerprints are found on the knife . . .

Something strange is going on in New Bison. It seems Aunt Octavia had her suspicions, too. But Maddy’s going to need a whole lot more than a trending hashtag to save her reputation—and her life.

Purchase Links

About Valerie Burns

Valerie (V. M.) Burns is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series. Her first book, The Plot is Murder, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Debut Novel. She is the author of the Dog Club Mystery Series, the RJ Franklin Mysteries, a three-time finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and an Edgar Award-nominated short story. Her newest series, Baker Street Mysteries, will release later this year, and her Pet Detective Mystery series will release in 2023. Valerie is on the board of Sisters in Crime and the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of Dog Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and International Thriller Writers. She is a manager for a Fortune 100 company and a mentor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie currently lives in the southeastern United States with her two poodles. Readers can visit her website at vmburns.com.

Author Links

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/v-m-burns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vmburnsbooks/

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16534140.V_M_Burns

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vmburnsbooks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/vmburns

Website: vmburns.com

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

August 22 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

August 22 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

August 23 – The Mystery Section – GUEST POST

August 23 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 24 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

August 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

August 25 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

August 26 – I Read What You Write – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

August 27 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

August 27 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

August 27 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

August 28 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 28 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 29 – Lady Hawkeye – SPOTLIGHT

August 29 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

August 30 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 31 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 31 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

September 1 – Mysteries with Character – REVIEW

September 2 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW

September 2 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

September 3 – The Mystery of Writing – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

September 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

September 4 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

 

Giveaway

This giveaway is hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and is for an Amazon gift card courtesy of Valerie Burns. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter or click here. Void where prohibited by law.

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Book Review: TO CATCH A RAVEN by Beverly Jenkins

 

 

TO CATCH A RAVEN by Beverly Jenkins book coverTo Catch a Raven, Women Who Dare #3, by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062861740 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062861757 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062861825 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B09MV846YB (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09MD9MKDG (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Avon Books
Release Date: August 23, 2022
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Historical Romance

“A living legend.” — Julia Quinn

The newest novel in USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins’s compelling Women Who Dare series features a fearless grifter who goes undercover to reclaim the stolen Declaration of Independence.

Lying and cheating may be sins to some people, but for Raven Moreaux, it is a way of life. She comes from a long line of grifters and couldn’t be prouder…Until she’s forced to help the government.

A former Confederate official is suspected of stealing the Declaration of Independence, and Raven, posing as his housekeeper, is tasked with getting it back. Her partner is the too handsome Braxton Steel. Masquerading as a valet/driver, Brax is also supposed to be her “husband.” He has his own reasons for doing this job, but when their pretend marriage ignites into fiery passion, they’ll have to put everything—including their hearts—on the line.

 Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook

To Catch a Raven is the third book in the “Women Who Dare” series and is set mainly in the post-Civil War South. The female main character, Raven Moreaux, is a member of a family known as grifters, con artists, and thieves based out of Louisiana. Raven’s family has struggled with poverty, but they all work together to achieve a united goal of uplifting the family. The male main character, Braxton Steel, is from a leading Black New England family of entrepreneurs. He grew up with servants and wealth and has never known anything but privilege. To say that he was shocked to learn to about his father’s prior associations with the Moreaux family is a major understatement. Now Braxton must work along with a known grifter/con artist in an effort to save his father from possible prosecution. But he knows nothing about grifting and frowns upon even the thought of doing something illegal or underhanded. Braxton learns that he shouldn’t be so quick to judge and that all is not what it seems with Raven Moreaux and her family. These two are forced to work together but each one learns valuable lessons from the other regarding pride, prejudices, and presumptions.

I found To Catch a Raven to be an enticing and fast-paced read. I enjoyed the dynamics between Raven and Braxton. Ms. Jenkins has incorporated quite a bit into this story beyond the search for a natural treasure. Just a few of the things a reader should check off on your Romancelandia Bingo card when reading this book include: enemies-to-lovers, one bed, older couple-second chance romance, fake marriage, fake royals, fake nuns, mice in a bag, a broken bed, a young girl with second sight, Alice in Wonderland, ice skating, Confederate money with a woman’s face, laudanum, betrayal, and more. What’s amazing to this reader is that all of these elements, (SPOILER ALERT: along with a bullying Pinkerton agent receiving her comeuppance), are combined in such a manner that nothing seems out of place within the telling of this tale. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I loved reading this story. The relationship between Raven and Braxton is sassy, steamy, and sexy, not to mention sweet. Their quest to find a stolen document takes them from Louisiana to the Carolinas and the journey allows both to learn from one another. Yes, this is a romance. And yes, there’s a HEA. But in addition to the romance story, Ms. Jenkins provides fascinating tidbits of history and it’s always a pleasure learning about our hidden history. If you enjoyed reading Rebel and Wild Rain, the first two books in this series, then I strongly encourage you to get a copy of To Catch a Raven to read. In addition to my print and digital copy, I purchased a second print copy for my 87-y.o. mother. I can only hope that you enjoy reading this series as much as I have, and I can’t wait to re-read this series (along with a few other favorite Beverly Jenkins books).

Happy Reading, y’all!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Giveaway

Told y’all that I LOVED this book, well I’m going to share the love with one lucky reader. I’m giving away one digital copy of this book, winner’s choice of Kindle or eBook copy. To enter the giveaway please use the Rafflecopter form below or click HERE. This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 08/26/2022 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 08/31/2022. The winner will be selected and notified by 10:00 AM on 09/01/2022.

Apologies to my international followers, but this giveaway is limited to US residents. All entries from non-US residents will be disqualified. Void where prohibited by law.

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Book Showcase: RIVER OF ASHES by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

River of Ashes

by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

August 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

River of Ashes by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor

*Apple’s Most Anticipated Books for Summer in Mysteries & Thrillers*

SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET. SOME SECRETS ARE BETTER OFF DEAD.

Along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River, sits the abandoned St. Francis Seminary. Beneath a canopy of oaks, blocked from prying eyes, the teens of St. Benedict High gather here on Fridays. The rest of the week belongs to school and family—but weekends belong to the river. And the river belongs to Beau Devereaux. The only child of a powerful family, Beau can do no wrong. Star quarterback. Handsome. Charming. The “prince” of St. Benedict is the ultimate catch. He is also a psychopath.

A dirty family secret buried for years, Beau’s evil grows unchecked. In the shadows of the haunted abbey, he commits unspeakable acts on his victims and ensures their silence with threats and intimidation. Senior year, Beau sets his sights on his girlfriend’s headstrong twin sister, Leslie, who hates him. Everything he wants but cannot have, she will be his ultimate prize. As the victim toll mounts, it becomes clear that someone must stop Beau Devereaux. And that someone will pay with their life.

River of Ashes is a Southern Gothic, Psychological Thriller inspired by true events in the vein of V.C. Andrews with elements of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and You by Caroline Kepnes. River of Ashes addresses social issues including sexual violence and bullying.

Praise for River of Ashes:

River of Ashes offers an inside look into the mind of a psychopath—a cautionary tale that the scariest monsters are the ones you know but never suspect.”

Pearry Teo, PhD; Award-Winning Director of The Assent, Executive Producer of Cloud Atlas

“A psychological portrait akin to Lord of the Flies.”

Midwest Book Review

“If Gillian Flynn and Bret Easton Ellis had a book baby, it would be River of Ashes.”

~Booktrib

Book Details:

Genre: Southern Gothic / Psychological Thriller / Coming-of-Age
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2022
Number of Pages: 284
ISBN10: 1645480984 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9781645480983 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781645480990 (eBook)
ASIN: B09V1KRX5J (Kindle edition)
Series: St. Benedict #1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Leslie turned off Main Street and headed along the single-lane road. The storefronts gave way to homes with colorful gardens and oaks draped with tendrils of Spanish moss. Then the houses grew sparse and disappeared as greenery hugged the side of the road. Leslie slowed to avoid a pothole and heard the rush of the Bogue Falaya River through the open windows.

The trees thinned, revealing the two stone spires of The Abbey. Apprehension snaked through her as she pictured Beau, her sister, and all the unsettling things she associated with the derelict church.

A wall of dense red buckeye bushes swaying in the breeze shrouded the road. Leslie drove through an opening someone carved out long ago. A cleared lot lay hidden beyond the dense hedge, surrounded by thick pines and oaks, with paths leading down a steep embankment to the river’s edge.

Leslie got out of the car, listening to the sweet refrain of birds in the trees. “No one’s here today.”

“It’s still too early. Everybody from school likes to come after dark.” Derek led her to a pine-straw-covered path and to the shore of the rushing river.

Something moved in the dense underbrush. Leslie walked ahead, trying to get a better look. “What’s that?”

She crossed several broken branches until she stumbled on something nestled in the foliage. The stench of rotting flesh hit her nose. She gagged and slowed to a stop.

“Wait, be careful.” Derek swept aside a few leafy twigs to get a better look.

Flies covered the bloated belly of a white-tailed deer. Deep grooves slashed into what remained of the deer’s neck. The poor animal’s hindquarters appeared torn away.

Leslie crept closer. “What could do such a thing?”

Derek took her hand and backed out of the brush. “I bet it was the wild dogs.”

Leslie let him lead her away from the stench. “What wild dogs?”

He stopped outside of the brush. “They’re around here. A couple of weeks ago, Mom said some hunters came in the diner and reported seeing them.”

“Where did they come from?” Leslie’s voice shook.

Derek guided her to a path curving down a long slope. The roar of the river grew louder.

“There are lots of stories. I heard they were left behind when the monks abandoned the place. Legend has it that when they appear, death is near.”

A shudder ran through her.

Derek tugged Leslie’s hand. “Come on.”

The path widened, and a beach came into view. The outcropping of white sand had a collection of green picnic tables, red barrel trash cans, and fire pits along the river’s edge. Around the beach, thick brush covered the shore with limbs from pine trees dipping into the water. The sun sparkled on the gentle waves.

Leslie followed him along the shoreline until they came to a rusted iron gate with a No Trespassing sign secured to it. The sign, decorated with crosses and swirls, marked the entrance to The Abbey grounds. Stepping through the open gate, she peered up at the imposing structure.

Two spires of white limestone, shaped like the tip of a sword, cut into the blue sky. A structure of red brick and limestone, the front windows and doors secured with loose scraps of plywood, sat in the middle of a field of high grass. The squat stone building of cloisters behind The Abbey remained intact. The Benedictine monks, who had run the seminary and were responsible for the preparation of future priests, demolished the dormitories, refectory, and library after they abandoned the site. The rest remained because, in the South, it was considered bad luck to tear down churches.

“Some place, huh?” Derek let go of her hand and ventured across the high grass.

A wave of panic shot through Leslie.

The grounds, unkempt after years of neglect, were a hodgepodge of weeds, overgrown trees, and vines.

Why would people come here at night?

“You ever wonder why those monks just up and left?” Leslie was uncomfortable with the eerie quiet. Even the birds had stopped singing. “Everyone says they got a better offer from the seminary in New Orleans, but it seems funny a bunch of people abandoned the place for no reason.”

Derek parted a thick pile of tall grass with his shoe. “My mom told me it was falling apart when she was a kid, and the Archdiocese didn’t have the money to fix it. So, they packed up the school and sent the monks and all the staff to New Orleans.”

“I read once that the structure dates back to the early 1800s, when the Devereaux family built it as a private church.” Leslie eyed the empty belfry atop one of the square-shaped towers. “You’d think they’d want to save it.”

Derek nudged her with his elbow. “Maybe the ghost drove them away.”

Beau’s tale had been in the back of her mind the whole time, but Derek’s comment spooked the crap out of her. “By ghost, do you mean the lady in white?”

“Yep.” He scanned the land around them. “They say she appears when the moon is full or during storms.”

The thought of being alone in such a disturbing place terrified her. “Have you ever seen the ghost?”

Derek searched the thick foliage ahead of them. “Nah. I’ve never seen anything.”

Granite steps appeared as they drew near the entrance.

Leslie kicked herself for letting him talk her into coming to this place. “What about the wild dogs? Have you seen them around The Abbey?”

“Not to worry, love, I’ll protect you from ghosts, wild dogs, and Beau Devereaux.” He climbed the steps, encouraging her to join him. “But I have to draw the line at your mother. There’s no way I’m taking her on in a fight.”

On the porch, beneath the cracked and chipped stone arch above the doors, she waited while Derek wrestled with the plywood covering the entrance. Despite the creep factor, the lush green trees surrounding them had a soothing effect. Leslie breathed in the fresh pine scent and mossy aroma of the tall grass. Then a fly zipped past her face.

Thud.

She turned and discovered Derek had pushed a large piece of plywood securing the door out of the way, leaving a nice-sized gap to crawl through.

“How did you do that?”

Derek held the plywood to the side for her. “The loose boards have been rigged to open easily.”

Leslie dipped her head and looked through the doorway. “You sure it’s safe?”

“I wouldn’t bring you here if it wasn’t, love.”

His smile won over her fears.

Once inside, it took a moment for her eyes to adjust. Pinpoints of light shone on a floor covered with clumps of debris. In the roof, thousands of holes, some big and some small, littered the space between the bare beams where parts of plaster had fallen away. Birds’ nests of light-colored hay and twigs nestled against blackish beams and shadowy eaves, creating a patchwork design on the ceiling. It reminded Leslie of the quilt her grandmother had made for her as a child.

Derek appeared, shining a beam of light on the floor.

She pointed at the flashlight. “Where did you get that?”

“Me and the guys have been here a few times. We’ve stashed stuff around the place. We even have sleeping bags and water bottles socked away.”

Here she was a nervous wreck while his friends had turned it into their personal campground. Leslie’s skin crawled at the idea of spending the night in such a place. “I don’t know why you guys come here.”

He took her hand, and the beam bounced on the dusty floor. “I don’t get why you’re so freaked out. It’s just an old building. There’s nothing sinister about it.”

Beau’s words about taking her to The Abbey sent a shiver down her spine. Any girl would be at his mercy in such a place. She questioned her sister’s choices, knowing she’d been there with Beau.

Derek swung the light across the floor, shining it on dozens of rotted pews, leaves, twigs, crumbled plaster pieces from the ceiling, and skeletons of dead birds. “Lots of animals use this place as shelter. I’ve seen possums, raccoons, deer, and once, I swear I saw a black leopard running out the back.”

Leslie became even more uneasy about being in the building. “You wouldn’t happen to have a shotgun in your stash.”

“The animals don’t bother me, just the people.”

Their footfalls echoed through the vast structure as they ventured farther. Leslie kept expecting someone or something to jump out from the shadows. Her only distraction was the intricate carvings atop the arches and the paintings on the walls. Men and angels exchanged timid glances as rays of light from parting clouds shined down.

Paintings of Noah and the flood, Adam and Eve, and other Genesis stories were barely visible on the white plaster covering the arches along the central aisle. In one spot, where the roof remained intact, she could make out the image of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. His eyes stood out the most. It was like they carried the burning wrath of God.

Shivering, Leslie looked ahead to a white archway marking the entrance to the altar. The gleam of the limestone appeared pristine. She got closer to the most sacred part of the old church, and her sense of dread rose. She spun around to face the scattered, rotting pews behind them.

“What is it?” Derek asked, taking her hand.

His voice rattled inside the hollows of the church, adding to her anxiety. They stood under the circular dome where the altar had once been, and then a low growl came from a shadowy corner.

The air left her lungs. Her senses heightened. Seconds ticked by while she listened for other sounds. “Tell me you heard that.”

Derek raised his finger to his lips and nodded to a door on his left.

***

Excerpt from River of Ashes by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor. Copyright 2022 by Alexandrea Weis & Lucas Astor. Reproduced with permission from Vesuvian Books. All rights reserved.

Meet Our Authors:

Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis

Alexandrea Weis, RN-CS, PhD, is an IPPY Award-Winning author, advanced practice registered nurse, and wildlife rehabber who was born and raised in the French Quarter. She has taught at major universities and worked with victims of sexual assault, abuse, and mental illness in a clinical setting at many New Orleans area hospitals. She is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization and Horror Writers Association. The Strand Magazine said, “Alexandrea Weis is one of the most talented authors around, and in a short time her novels are destined to stand along with authors such as Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, Joyce Carol Oates, and Jeffery Deaver.”

Catch Up With Alexandrea Weis:
AlexandreaWeis.com
StBenedictSeries.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @AlexandreaWeis
Instagram – @AlexandreaWeis
Twitter – @AlexandreaWeis
Facebook – @AuthorAlexandreaWeis

Lucas Astor

Author Lucas Astor is an award-winning author and poet with a penchant for telling stories that delve into the dark side of the human psyche. He likes to explore the evil that exists, not just in the world, but next door behind a smiling face. Astor currently lives outside of Nashville, TN.

Catch Up With Lucas Astor:
LucasAstor.com
Instagram – @lucasastorauthor

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Guest Post: Katharine Schellman – DEATH AT THE MANOR

Happy Monday, my bookish peeps. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and were able to find some time to read. After having an allergic reaction to some coconut, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday heavily medicated and reading. I enjoy reading mysteries, suspense thrillers, romance, and romantic suspense, but there’s a special place in my heart for gothic romance (hey, Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite reads!). Whether a story is a traditional gothic tale or gothic-inspired, count me in. I’m very pleased to welcome, Katharine Schellman, author of Death at the Manor to the blog today. Ms. Schellman will be defining gothic storytelling and providing us with a list of suggested gothic reads. I hope you’ll take note and add a few of these titles to your TBR or TBRR (to-be-re-read) list, along with Death at the Manor. Thank you, Ms. Schellman, for stopping by and sharing your insight into gothic stories.

A Gothic Reading List
by Katharine Schellman

If you’ve read one of the Lily Adler Mysteries before, you might have noticed a slightly different flavor in Lily’s third adventure. With a wandering ghost, a run-down manor full of unsettling residents, and a romance brewing, it has a distinctly Gothic feel to it.

That isn’t by accident. During the nineteenth century, when Death at the Manor is set, the Gothic romance was wildly popular. These books were often mysteries that reflected a fascination with the supernatural, the grotesque, or the horrific.

Death at the Manor is still a traditional mystery, but parts of it borrow heavily from the Gothic canon. So what makes a book truly Gothic? It’s a genre that can vary a lot, especially in its modern version, but you’ll usually see a few elements in common.

1. The threat of supernatural events or creatures, such as ghosts, monsters, or vampires
2. Dark, ruined settings, such as old castles, monasteries, or haunted houses, often with secret passages and trap doors
3. A feeling of fear or claustrophobia
4. The past intruding on the present, often through curses, prophecies, omens, or portents
5. Themes of vengeance, imprisonment, or murder
6. Doomed or persecuted romance

The tropes of Gothic writing could easily become overblown and absurd, but they served an important role in the history of literature. Books about ghosts, fear, vengeance, and persecution gave women something other than the marriage plot to write and read about. And they allowed writers and readers to explore the darker side of the social expectations, taboos, and power structures that shaped their lives.

If you’d like to brush up on your Gothic reading, here’s a starter list for you:

1. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
2. Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
3. The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve
4. Zofloya by Charlotte Dacre
5. The Giaour by Lord Byron
6. The Wanderer by Frances Burney
7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
9. The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe
10. The Grey Woman by Elizabeth Gaskell

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. It’s not a Gothic tale itself, and like Austen’s other works, it doesn’t stray far from the marriage plot. But it’s a brilliant satire of the Gothic genre, which can only be fully appreciated once you’ve read some of the books she was spoofing. ♦

Death at the Manor

by Katharine Schellman

August 8 – September 2nd, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman

 

The tortured spirits of the dead haunt a Regency-era English manor—but the true danger lies in the land of the living in the third installment in the Lily Adler mysteries, perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn.

 

Regency widow Lily Adler is looking forward to spending the autumn away from the social whirl of London. When she arrives in Hampshire with her friends, the Carroways, she doesn’t expect much more than a quiet country visit and the chance to spend time with her charming new acquaintance, Matthew Spencer.

But something odd is afoot in the small country village. A ghost has taken up residence in the Belleford manor, a lady in grey who wanders the halls at night, weeping and wailing. Half the servants have left in terror, but the family seems delighted with the notoriety that their ghost provides. Intrigued by this spectral guest, Lily and her party immediately make plans to visit Belleford.

They arrive at the manor the next morning ready to be entertained—only to find that tragedy has struck. The matriarch of the family has just been found killed in her bed.

The dead woman’s family is convinced that the ghost is responsible. Lily is determined to learn the truth before another victim turns up—but could she be next in line for the Great Beyond?

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: August 9th, 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN10: 1639100784 (Hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781639100781 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9781639100798 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781666613636 (Digital Audiobook)
ASIN: B0B13RB3XG (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09LGVHT9S (Kindle edition)
Series: Lily Adler Mystery #3
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Author Bio:

Katharine Schellman

Katharine Schellman is a former actor, one-time political consultant, and now the author of the Lily Adler Mysteries and the Nightingale Mysteries. Her debut novel, The Body in the Garden, was one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of 2020 and led to her being named one of BookPage’s 16 Women to Watch in 2020. Her second novel, Silence in the Library, was praised as “worthy of Agatha Christie or Rex Stout.” (Library Journal, starred review) Katharine lives and writes in the mountains of Virginia in the company of her husband, children, and the many houseplants she keeps accidentally murdering.

Catch Up With Katharine Schellman:
KatharineSchellman.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @katharineschellman
Instagram – @katharinewrites
Twitter – @katharinewrites
Facebook – @katharineschellman

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Guest Post: David Rabin – IN DANGER OF JUDGMENT

Whew, we’ve made it to another Friday, my bookish peeps. I’m looking forward to the weekend because I get more reading done (as if a book-a-day wasn’t enough for any book lover!). As most of you know by now, I’m an avid reader and enjoy reading from a variety of different genres. Regardless of genre, my fiction preferences are for a well-crafted storyline with a believable plot as well as realistic characters. I’m in awe of the great skill and talent to craft an entrancing read, whether it’s story or character driven. Today’s guest, author David Rabin, will share how he crafted the characters in his character-driven thriller, In Danger of Judgment. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and add In Danger of Judgment to your growing TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Rabin, for joining us today, the blog is now all yours.

HOW I CREATED MY CHARACTERS
By David Rabin

My slogan is “Character-Driven Crime Thrillers.” The books I’ve enjoyed most were those with characters I bonded with and wanted to spend time with, characters so charismatic and fascinating that I wanted to buy the next book so I could spend more time with them. When it came time to conceive my debut novel, I created the characters first and then crafted a story I thought would be a good vehicle for those characters.

First, an introduction to the story to get you oriented. In Danger of Judgment follows two Chicago police detectives in 1987 as they investigate a series of drug-related murders that pull them into a much larger conspiracy originating fifteen years earlier during the Vietnam War. As they dig deeper and try to prevent a drug war, they’re caught in a conflict between a drug lord and a man seeking revenge against him.

Now, on to the characters. I wanted to present multiple points of view because each character can bring something different to the story—different pieces of the plot and different personalities expressing themselves.

The two heroes are the detectives: Marcelle DeSantis and William “Bernie” Bernardelli. I wanted two protagonists because I like the dynamic of characters playing off each other. To pull it off, I had to make them different but complementary.

Marcelle is in her late twenties, brilliant and tough. As a female detective in the Violent Crimes division of the Chicago Police Department in the 1980s, she has to deal with sexism from within and without the law enforcement community.

Bernie is twenty years older than Marcelle and has been a Chicago cop for nearly three decades. He’s the book’s moral center, someone who’s seen it all and has learned to adapt to the horrors of his job without losing his sense of empathy and desire to help others. He and Marcelle have a mentor-protégé/uncle-niece relationship.

One of the lessons I learned when reading comic books during my youth was the importance of great villains. The best villains were as well-developed and interesting as the heroes, and I didn’t want a mustache-twirling Snidely Whiplash (yeah, I’m dating myself now).

The villain is Robert Thornton and he’s the subject of a six-decade backstory. He has a Ph.D., briefly taught as a college professor, served in the OSS during World War Two, spent several years with the CIA, worked as a mercenary in Asia and Africa, and when we see him in the main story, is the chief enforcer for a Southeast Asian heroin cartel. He’s erudite, articulate, unflappable, and has all the social graces, but has devolved from being a hero early in his life to being utterly amoral. I designed him to be not just a formidable adversary but to be equal parts charming and revolting.

The book has two secondary characters, again with the goal of presenting different perspectives and personalities. John Shepard is an accountant who’s a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation division, assigned to work with Marcelle and Bernie to take down Thornton. He’s another complementary character—he suffers from tic and generalized anxiety disorders, which prevent him from developing relationships.

The other secondary character, Ed Stepanek, was the most fun to write. Ed lives in suburbia, is well-liked by his neighbors, dotes on his lawn, kills people for a living, and has a tenuous relationship with reality. Rational characters come with restrictions—once we establish their personality, we expect them to stay within certain boundaries of behavior. But with Ed, I gave myself permission to make him as plumb crazy as I wanted.

It took me twenty-eight years to get from the book’s conception to its publication, and I lived with these characters every day during that span. I’m excited to finally be able to present them to the world. ♦

In Danger of Judgment

by David Rabin

August 8 – September 2, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

In Danger of Judgment by David Rabin

 

When a covert operation during the Vietnam War ends in tragedy, one of its members resolves to kill the man who betrayed it to the enemy. Now, fifteen years later, he’ll finally get his chance.

 

Chicago, 1987. Home of mediocre baseball teams, gangs that rule the streets, and a Mexican drug cartel that supplies the city with heroin. Chicago Police Detective Marcelle DeSantis and her partner, Bernie Bernardelli, are working a series of heroin-related murders, and their job just got more complicated. The man who sabotaged the Vietnam operation, Robert Thornton, is now the chief enforcer for a Southeast Asian heroin cartel, and after fifteen years overseas he’s arrived in Chicago to eliminate the reigning cartel and seize control of the city’s heroin trade.

Racing to stop a drug war, Marcelle and Bernie don’t realize they’re about to be caught in a deadly crossfire: another man is circling in the wings, one of Thornton’s soldiers from Vietnam, who’s preparing to exact his long-sought revenge against his former mentor. He’s the last person anyone would ever suspect, and when he finally makes his move, the paths of these four people will explosively converge.

Praise for In Danger of Judgment:

In Danger of Judgment does a masterful job of juggling multiple, full-blooded characters through high-octane storytelling as they make their way to a shocking, violent ending. David Rabin is a name that is sure to become familiar among lovers of best-selling, full-throttle thrillers”

––David Shawn Klein, award-winning author of The Money

“Mr. Rabin brings a fresh set of characters to the tried-and-true crime drama, and his breezy narrative style and crackling dialogue kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.”

––Ronald Aiken, author of Death Has Its Benefits and former president of The Atlanta Writers

“Kudos to Mr. Rabin on the high quality of the prose, the thrilling plot with a twist and surprise ending, and the extensive research that went into this novel. I highly recommend it.”

––Jill Caugherty, author of Waltz in Swing Time

“Well-developed characters drive Rabin’s taut thriller. . . . the story builds to a lengthy, sensational final act, brimming with well-earned suspense.”

––Kirkus Reviews

“A stunning debut, David Rabin’s In Danger of Judgment is an engrossing page-turner. Shocking twists barrel full-speed into an action-packed and tense crime thriller readers won’t see coming… Builds an intricately-plotted crime thriller that’s cinematic and wildly compelling. The author’s prose is concise and ‘unputdownable,’ skilled at giving a tangible sense of the time period these characters inhabit.”

––IndieReader

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thriller
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: August 4th, 2022
Number of Pages: 369
ISBN10: 1685130593 (Hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781685130596 (Hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781685130008 (Paperback)
ASIN: B09ZVPW2NN (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon (hardcover) | Amazon (paperback) | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads | Black Rose Writing

Don’t Miss this Video Trailer

Author Bio:

David Rabin

DAVID RABIN was born in Chicago and raised in its Lakeview neighborhood. He later moved to Atlanta, where he worked as a trial lawyer for thirty-three years. Now retired, he writes fiction, runs a competitive shooting program, and competes in rifle sports, including the discipline of Highpower Rifle, in which he holds two High Master classifications. He and his wife, a former clinical social worker, have two grown sons. In Danger of Judgment is his first novel.

Catch Up With David Rabin:
DavidRabinAuthor.com
Goodreads
Facebook – @DavidRabinAuthor

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Book Spotlight: A DARK AND STORMY TEA by Laura Childs

A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About A Dark and Stormy Tea

A Dark and Stormy Tea (A Tea Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
24th in Series
Berkley
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593200896
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 9780593200896
Digital ISBN : 9780593200902
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09LH6VG4P

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N NOOK Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo eBook

A possible serial killer on the loose sends tea maven Theodosia Browning into a whirlwind of investigation in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

It was a dark and stormy night, but that was the least of Theodosia Browning’s troubles. As she approaches St. Philips Graveyard, Theodosia sees two figures locked in a strange embrace. Wiping rain from her eyes, Theodosia realizes she has just witnessed a brutal murder and sees a dark-hooded figure slip away into the fog.

In the throes of alerting police, Theodosia recognizes the victim—it is the daughter of her friend, Lois, who owns the Antiquarian Bookshop next door to her own Indigo Tea Shop.

Even though this appears to be the work of a serial killer who is stalking the back alleys of Charleston, Lois begs Theodosia for help. Against the advice of her boyfriend, Detective Pete Riley, and the sage words of Drayton, her tea sommelier, amateur-sleuth Theodosia launches her own shadow investigation. And quickly discovers that suspects abound with the dead girl’s boyfriend, nefarious real estate developer, private-security man, bumbling reporter, and her own neighbor who is writing a true-crime book and searching for a big ending.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

About Laura Childs

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links: Website | Facebook

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August 8 – Angel’s Guilty Pleasures – SPOTLIGHT

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