Guest Post: Haris Orkin – GOLDHAMMER

Good day, my fellow book lovers. I hope you’re all having a good week and staying cool and dry. Have you ever given any thought to the psychological issues some of our beloved characters reveal but also deny? For example, Scarlett O’Hara uses denial as a massive coping mechanism throughout her life, but occasionally she uses it as a weapon or tool to get what she wants. Gone With the Wind just wouldn’t be the same if Scarlett were as sweet and kind as her “friend” and rival, Melanie. Authors intend for some characters to be more flamboyant and over-the-top because it makes for a more interesting story, as well as making for a memorable character. I’m pleased to welcome Haris Orkin, author of Goldhammer to the blog today. Mr. Orkin is an acclaimed author and he’ll be talking to us about Bond, James Bond. Thank you, Mr. Orkin, for joining us today. I look forward to learning your thoughts on James Bond and now turn the blog over to you.

YOU’D HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO BE JAMES BOND
By Haris Orkin

 

Daniel Craig’s last James Bond movie was finally released after a long delay and right now, there is no new Bond film on the horizon. Ladbrokes, the storied British betting and gambling concern, publishes odds every day as to who the next James Bond might be. People can lay bets on it. The top contenders at the moment are Tom Hardy, Henry Cavill, Richard Madden from Game of Thrones, Aiden Turner, Idris Elba, and Rege-Jean Page of Bridgerton fame. Whoever Barbara Broccoli chooses to be the new Bond will take this sixty-year-old blockbuster franchise into the future. Currently, it’s the fifth highest-grossing movie franchise of all time.

When Goldfinger first came out I couldn’t wait to see it, but my parents thought I was too young. They thought it was too violent, too sexy, and too grownup for a fourth-grader. (The movie poster featured a nude woman painted entirely in gold.) They finally gave in to my nagging the following year when Thunderball came out.

In the pre-title sequence, Bond punched out a guy dressed as a lady and then escaped by donning a jetpack and taking off into the sky. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. One week later there was a promotion in the parking lot of our local mall. In 1965, Randhurst was the largest shopping center under one roof in the world. I lived in suburban Chicago and it was one mile from our house. A man donned that same (or similar) James Bond jetpack and took to the sky with an earsplitting whoosh. I was thrilled and inspired and right then and there I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

James Bond.

Who wouldn’t? He traveled all over the world and drove super cool cars with built in-machine guns and ejector seats. He sky-dived and scuba-dived and gambled in casinos on the French Riviera. Every woman he met shamelessly threw herself at him. Bond had no fear of anyone or anything. He was confident in every situation and comfortable in his own skin. I think that was the biggest fantasy of all for an awkward pre-teen from the suburbs of Chicago.

Two years later I saw You Only Live Twice. Two years after that, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I owned a James Bond toy camera that turned into a pistol and a toy radio that turned into a sniper rifle. That was also the era of The Wild, Wild West, The Man From Uncle, I Spy, and The Avengers. (The one with Emma Peel and John Steed, not the one with Iron Man, Spiderman, and Thor.) But Bond was the original. The first. The best.

It was also the era of Get Smart and that was the first hint to me that there was something vaguely ridiculous about Bond. When Roger Moore replaced Sean Connery, the Bond films turned slightly more comedic. I missed Connery’s cool edge and I didn’t think Moore exuded the same sense of danger. I wanted to believe in Bond. I wanted to buy into the whole ethos of a lone secret agent who could save the world.

Gradually, over time, as much as I loved Bond, I was beginning to see the absurdity behind what he did and how he did it. Bond always accused the supervillains he confronted as being barking mad. But in truth, he was no less crazy. I began to understand that only someone completely crackers could do what James Bond did.

I started reading the books as well and Fleming’s Bond wasn’t as over the top as the movie Bond. He was more grounded and a bit more realistic. The villains weren’t quite as insane as the ones in the movies, but they were definitely crazier than Bond. Over time, however, the books became as fantastic as the films. Even as a twelve-year-old kid I could see that Bond was probably a few egg rolls short of a pu pu platter.

Who in their right mind would cross a river by jumping over the backs of a bunch of crocodiles? Or leap out of a plane without a parachute? Or bungee jump off a thousand-foot-high dam? These are things only a person with a death wish would do. Or someone so insanely confident that they didn’t believe death or serious injury was even a possibility. Of all the nutty things Bond did in those early films, the craziest to me was when he decided to go undercover as a Japanese fisherman in You Only Live Twice. As a six-foot-two Caucasian with a Scottish accent and bangs, Bond didn’t seem convincingly Japanese to me. Hell, he didn’t even speak Japanese. For Bond to believe that anyone would actually believe he was Japanese didn’t just strain credulity, it was batshit crazy.

Still, I continued to love James Bond. I still do. He continues to be the ultimate escapist male empowerment fantasy. He also reminded me of another famous literary hero who made it his mission to right wrongs, save damsels in distress and slay dragons. This hero was also famously delusional.

Don Quixote.

A few years back it crossed my mind that today’s equivalent of a knight errant would be a secret agent. A contemporary Don Quixote would likely imagine himself to be a super spy like James Bond.

That’s how James Flynn came to be.

Oscar Levant, the virtuoso pianist and world-class wit, once said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.”

The same could be said for the line between bravery and batshit crazy.

Goldhammer

by Haris Orkin

June 6 – July 1, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Goldhammer by Haris Orkin

A James Flynn Escapade

A young actress, involuntarily committed to City of Roses Psychiatric Hospital, plunges James Flynn into a dangerous new adventure when she claims one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood is trying to kill her.

Still convinced he’s a secret agent for Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Flynn springs into action, helps her escape and finds himself embroiled in a battle with a dangerous sociopath worth billions. In the process, he uncovers a high-tech conspiracy to control the mind of every human being on Earth.

With the help of his reluctant sidekick, Sancho, and a forgotten Hollywood sex symbol from the 1960s, Flynn faces off with Goldhammer and his private army in a desperate attempt to save the young actress…and save the world…once again.

Praise for Goldhammer:

“One of those books that has you laughing and turning pages well into the night.” —Len Boswell, Bestselling author of The Simon Grave Mysteries

“A riotous comic novel that’s also a legit page turner. A deftly plotted, swiftly paced thriller.” —R. Lee Procter, Author of The Million Dollar Sticky Note and Sugarball

“A fast-paced quixotic thriller that would make Miguel de Cervantes and Ian Fleming proud. The third James Flynn novel is a powerful cocktail of suspense, adrenaline and a whole lot of laughs. Orkin has the remarkable ability to keep the reader straddled between a genuine spy thriller and an off-the-wall comedy” —Joe Barret, Award-winning author of Managed Care

Book Details:

Genre: Comedy Thriller
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2022
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 1684339677
ISBN-13: 9781684339679
Series: The James Flynn Escapades, Book 3 | Each is a stand-alone thriller
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Author Bio:

Haris Orkin

Haris Orkin is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and game writer. His play, Dada was produced at The American Stage and the La Jolla Playhouse. Sex, Impotence, and International Terrorism was chosen as a critic’s choice by the L.A. Weekly and sold as a film script to MGM/UA. Save the Dog was produced as a Disney Sunday Night movie. His original screenplay, A Saintly Switch, was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred David Alan Grier and Vivica A. Fox. He is a WGA Award and BAFTA Award nominated game writer and narrative designer known for Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Mafia 3, and Dying Light.

Catch Up With Haris Orkin:
www.harisorkin.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @HarisOrkin
Instagram – @HarisOrkin
Twitter – @HarisOrkin
Facebook – @AuthorHarisOrkin

Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: Shelly Frome – SHADOW OF THE GYPSY

Good day, my bookish peeps. Books, especially memorable books, are made up of much more than just the plot. These stories usually have memorable characters and are set in unusual settings. Would To Kill a Mockingbird be as memorable without Atticus, Scout, Gem, Dil, and Boo Radley? Can you imagine the Harry Potter series without Hogwarts, Hermione, Ron Weasley, Dumbledore, or Snape? It doesn’t matter if it’s the main character or not, the more unusual they are generally relates to their being remembered. I’m honored to host a return visit from Shelly Frome, author of the recently released Shadow of the Gypsy. Mr. Frome will be discussing characters with us today. Please help me welcome back, Shelly Frome. Thank you, Mr. Frome, for returning to my blog and sharing with us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Those Freewheeling Characters
by Shelly Frome

In his first detective novel The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe was changeable: by turns wised up, hopeful, thoughtful, adventurous, sentimental, cynical, and rebellious. Moreover, there was the sense that Marlowe was keenly aware that pain hurt, life really mattered, and you never knew what you were going to run into. He found himself taken with his client the General, a dying millionaire with “only a few locks of dry white hair clinging to his scalp,” a man who spoke slowly, “carefully using whatever strength he had left.” It seems that one of the General’s unpredictable and troublesome daughters was being blackmailed. Soon enough, there were intimations of kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder as a number of characters, working at cross-purposes, sent the action winging in different directions.

Arguably, the prototype in detective fiction at least is Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. In this edgy tale, there’s always a subtext beneath the surface. As Sam Spade endeavors to catch the person who killed his partner Miles Archer during a stakeout, Spade runs into a trio of colorful characters like Brigid O’Shaughnessy who is so deceitful, she seems to be lying even when she may be telling the truth and leaves Spade perplexed to the point of even falling in love with her.

Years later, and by extension, the playwright Edward Albee confided to a handful of us graduate students that he’d had a problem with his play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The circumstances centered on a jaded couple he called George and Martha, stuck on a small New England college campus, who’d invited a newly arrived younger couple over for fun and games. However, the results were flat and predictable. Soon enough, George and Martha imaginatively came to him and threatened to quit if he didn’t back off. In truth, the pair of them claimed, they were not only unpredictable, they had deep dark secrets percolating underneath and all hell would burst loose if, and only if, Albee would let go of his outline and set them free. Albee complied and the fresh and compelling results can be seen in the movie version starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

On a personal note, I once attended a book fair in New York and, at the same time, was having trouble with my crime novel Murder Run. A story that centered on a laconic handyman named Jed who’d been falsely accused of the untimely death of a woman he’d been working for. Jed had reason to believe the real culprit was a mobster who drove down the night in question and then took off back to the mean streets. And so there I was, sauntering around the Little Italy section of Manhattan on a bright spring morning when I ran into a stocky character who called himself Johnny Diamonds and announced, “This is my territory, man.” A twelve-year-old scamp named Angie came along and said, “If you’re lost, mister, I can show you around for a little coin.” In my mind, this tough little girl became Jed’s sidekick and guide, a figure like Johnny Diamonds became the key to the world of the local Mafia, and anything could happen.

As one writer once noted, “No surprising characters, no liveliness in the story.”

Perhaps the novelist E.L. Doctorow put it best when he said that writing fiction was like driving at night with only the headlight beams to guide you. You know more or less where you’re headed but have no idea of the turns you’ll make, who you’ll meet along the way, and what influence they’ll have on your journey. ♦

Shadow of the Gypsy

by Shelly Frome

June 6 – July 1, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Shadow of the Gypsy by Shelly Frome

A nemesis out of the past suddenly returns, ​forcing Josh Bartlett to come to terms with his true identity.

Josh Bartlet had figured all the angles, changed his name, holed up as a small town features writer in the Blue Ridge. He’d just give it a few weeks more and then begin anew, return to the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut and Molly (if she’d have him) and, at long last, live a normal life. After all, it was a matter of record that Zharko had been deported well over a year ago. The shadowy form Josh had glimpsed yesterday at the lake was only that—a hazy, shadow under the eaves. It stood to reason his old nemesis was still ensconced in Bucharest or thereabouts. No matter what, he simply wouldn’t travel over eight hundred miles to track Josh down, hook into his life, put him under the gun and ruin everything. Surely not now, not after all this.

“Sharp writing, and a keen pace keep this story rolling.”
– Lee A. Jacobus, author of Crown Island and Hawaiian Tales

“Shadow of the Gypsy is intriguing, complicated, and mysterious. . . “
– Tina M. Zion, award-winning author and international teacher of intuition

“By turns charming and chilling, Shadow of the Gypsy is that rarest of gems, a crime novel that curdles the blood, even as it tugs on the heartstrings. . . “
– Jaden Terrell, author of A Taste of Blood and Ashes, River of Glass, A Cup Full of Midnight, and Racing the Devil

“Once you start, you won’t want to stop reading. . .”
– Jana Zinser, author of The Children’s Train: Escape on the Kindertransport and Fly Like a Bird

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: BQB Publishing
Publication Date: May 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 330
ISBN:     1952782570 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9781952782572 (paperback)
ASIN:     B09HST8WP5 (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Shadow of the Gypsy Book Trailer:

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at UConn, a former professional actor, and a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He also is a features writer for Gannett Publications. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, Murder Run, Moon Games, The Secluded Village Murders, and Miranda and the D-Day Caper. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio: A History and a guide to playwriting and one on screenwriting, Shadow of the Gypsy is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

Catch Up With Shelly:
www.ShellyFrome.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @ShellyFrome
Instagram – @AuthorShellyFrome
Twitter – @ShellyFrome
Facebook – @ShellyFrome

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Guest Post: Jodé Millman – HOOKER AVENUE

Hello, book people. As a reader, it’s nice to presume that all any beloved author has to do is sit down and write out the story hidden in their imagination. Sadly, creating and crafting stories often makes up only a small percentage of an author’s life in today’s world. Authors often perform other functions in addition to writing, such as research, editing, publicity, and marketing, etc. Being an author today is not for the faint of heart (in my opinion) and involves quite a bit of time-consuming work outside of writing. I’m honored to host a visit from Jodé Millman, author of Hooker Avenue. Ms. Millman will be discussing the concept of protecting artistic rights as an author/creator. I hope you’ll enjoy her presentation, grab a copy of Hooker Avenue to read, and follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Ms. Millman, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

A Simple Bug Can Help You Protect Your Artistic Rights
by Jodé Millman

 

In our creative lives, we all wear many hats: author, editor, researcher, and publicist, to name a few. In my writing life, I wear another hat—attorney. This comes in handy because I write the “Queen City Crimes” crime fiction series, novels inspired by infamous crimes in the Hudson Valley. And because I understand the precautions necessary to protect my artistic rights.

Over the years, I’ve found that writers dedicate so much time to writing that they often overlook an elementary step available to protect their creative projects. In this article, you’ll get a crash course in one simple, cheap and easy way that you can protect yourself from the nefarious thieves lurking around the corner, ready to prey on your hard work.

We have all seen the © symbol everywhere. It’s on paintings, photographs, movie credit trailers, magazines, CDs, and even on the Rights pages of books. Well, that little copyright bug represents a powerful tool in the writer’s arsenal. This symbol protects you, your heirs, and your work from theft and infringement, and signifies that you are the exclusive owner and author of the work.

Thanks to visionaries like Mark Twain and James Fennimore Cooper, in 1909, the United States enacted the first Copyright Statute, which recognized the necessity that artists’ works be protected as their stock in trade. As the technological advances in the publishing, advertising, music, and entertainments industry have blossomed, the law has been amended. The most radical revision occurred in 1976, which is the version that protects us today.

For writers, the Copyright law protects a work described as a “Literary Work” (material contained within a book, periodical, manuscript, phono-record, film tape, disk, or card), from the moment you create it. From the first letter you type on your computer, or the first syllable penned on the page, your work is protected from infringement. It makes no difference whether the work is published or unpublished. Both are entitled to equal protection under the law. In fact, any derivation (abridgment, translation, etc.) of your work is protected as well. You, alone, as the owner of your copyright, may reproduce, display and distribute your work for the term of your life plus seventy years.

The Copyright statute covers your words, your expression, and your creation as an author. It does not cover an “idea”. For example, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a story about star-crossed lovers. Many artists, including Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey have reinvented this “idea” behind the tragedy. Each author may obtain individual copyright protection because they have reinterpreted this universal trope in their own words. Tony and Maria’s racially charged, gang-related story set in New York City differs from the warring medieval Italian families. So, in summary, your written words on the page are being protected, not the underlying idea. The law does not protect ideas unless they are designs, inventions, or processes, which are covered by the Patent Law.

Similarly, the Copyright Law does not protect book titles, phrases, and slogans. Phrases like “With a name like Smuckers, it’s got to be good,” or “Good to the last drop” fall under the Trademark Law, which covers logos and slogans that identify goods and services in the marketplace.

It’s unnecessary to register, or deposit, your work with the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress in order to benefit from the protection of the law. However, there are several advantages to doing so. First, the date of your creation will be proof positive that you are the first in time to write your particular story. Second, if someone else writes or copies the identical story, this filing will help with the statutory enforcement of your rights and entitle you to receive the maximum remedies and damages against the infringer. Third, it’s really cool to have that Copyright Certificate of Registration hanging on your wall. It’s worth the forty-five dollars invested in the filing fee to stake your claim on your brilliant literary work, and it’s easy to do online at http://www.copyright.gov. Be forewarned. There’s a backlog of filings, so you must be patient. It may take six to eighteen months to receive your certificate.

Besides filing your work with the Copyright Office, you must show the world that you are aware of your rights in your work. We have come full circle back to our little copyright bug, ©, which must appear on your work, preferably your title page. If your work is published, the correct way method of implementing the symbol is © year author’s name, i.e.; © 2022 Jodé Millman. If your work is unpublished, the correct form is Unpublished Work © 2022 Jodé Millman. If you place this notice on your work, the world will be informed that you have protected yourself, and you can use the notice as evidence against any infringer.

This thumbnail sketch highlights the writer’s basic copyright protections available under the voluminous U.S. Copyright Statute. The statute, filing information and additional references can be found at http://www.copyright.gov.

The takeaway is that your precious literary masterpiece is protected from the moment of creation. Don’t be afraid to catch this © bug, it will immunize you, your work, and your heirs from the literary pirates of the world.

Hooker Avenue

by Jodé Millman

June 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Hooker Avenue by Jode Millman

Being a Good Samaritan is hazardous.

Single mom and attorney Jessie Martin learns that lesson the hard way.

During a violent spring thunderstorm, Jessie discovers an unconscious woman lying in a roadside ditch and dials 911 for help. Little does she know her compassion will propel her on a collision course with her estranged best friend, Detective Ebony Jones…and one of the most shocking mysteries in the Hudson Valley.

The badly beaten victim, Lissie Sexton, is a prostitute who claims she’s escaped from the clutches of a killer. She’s also a client of Jessie’s new boss, and former nemesis, Jeremy Kaplan, and fearing for Lissie’s life, he’s hidden her away from everyone.

Ebony is investigating a series of cold cases, and the missing women’s profiles bear a striking resemblance to Lissie’s. She’s willing to stake her career on the hooker being the key to solving the serial crimes. However, Jessie is the major obstacle to her investigation- she won’t give up Lissie’s location.

Jessie’s in a bind. She wants to help Ebony, but she can’t compromise her client, her boss, or her legal ethics.

Praise for Hooker Avenue:

“Dark, dangerous and deviously suspenseful, Hooker Avenue kept me turning pages late into the night. I adored the fascinating cast of characters and the rich Hudson Valley setting. A truly terrific book!”– Alison Gaylin, USA Today Bestselling, and Edgar Award-winning author of THE COLLECTIVE

“So many skeletons are banging on the closet doors to be set free, in this heady mix of sizzle, punch, and danger. And, even more intriguing, it’s all based on a true crime.”–Steve Berry, International and New York Times bestselling author of THE KAISER’S WEB

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: April 19, 2022
Number of Pages: 360
ISBN: 9781685120825 (paperback)
ASIN: B09X1ZDMRM (Kindle edition)
Series: Queen City Crimes, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Jodé Millman

Jodé Millman is the multi-award-winning author of THE MIDNIGHT CALL, and the best-selling SEATS: NEW YORK Theatre guidebooks. Her latest thriller, HOOKER AVENUE, is now available. She’s an attorney, a reviewer for Booktrib.com, the host/producer of the Backstage with the Bardavon podcast, and the creator of The Writer’s Law School. Jodé lives with her family in the Hudson Valley, where she is at work on her next novel in her “Queen City Crime” series- novels inspired by true crimes in the valley she calls home.

Discover more about Jodé and her work at:
www.jodemillman.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @JodeMillmanAuthor
Instagram – @jodewrites
Twitter – @worldseats
Facebook – @JodeSusanMillmanAuthor

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Guest Post: Connie di Marco – SERPENT’S DOOM

Good day, my fellow book lovers. Have you ever read a book and recognized a familiar or beloved establishment as the setting and thought, “those were the days?” Today’s guest, Connie di Marco, author of Serpent’s Doom is joining us today to discuss just that, memories of a beloved San Francisco store that became the fictional setting for the Zodiac Mysteries. I hope you’ll enjoy what Ms. di Marco has to share, add Serpent’s Doom to your TBR list, as well as follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author. Thank you, Ms. di Marco, for taking the time to stop by the blog once again. I look forward to hearing what you have to share with us today. The blog is now all yours.

Memories of the Mystic Eye
by Connie di Marco

When I started to write the first Zodiac Mystery (The Madness of Mercury), I never planned that the fictional Mystic Eye occult bookshop would become a recurring location. I should have realized that it would as the series went on. After all, my San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, discovered her first astrology books there. Her best friend Gale runs the shop and then later, Cheryl takes a job to manage the bookshop and becomes a dear friend. On top of that, The Mystic Eye attracts a unique group of psychics, mediums, past life regression hypnotists who have become important secondary characters.

But back up a few decades. Many years ago, there was a real Mystic Eye Occult Bookshop in San Francisco. It was just down the street from the fictional one, on Broadway, and across Columbus Avenue. I remember it well. It was a one-of-a-kind (at the time) occult shop, selling books, talismans, gifts, candle burning supplies and all sorts of other unique items. I figured the real shop had been gone for so many years, it was safe to use the same name. Who would remember?

Guess again – lots of people remember the real Mystic Eye with fond memories and somehow they’ve stumbled upon my books or a blog post about the shop and they’ve written to me about their experiences. I was thrilled to hear from them!

Ron M. wrote to ask if the Mystic Eye (in the Zodiac Mysteries) had anything to do with the 1970’s San Francisco Mystic Eye Occult Bookshop, next to the Green Turtle Bus Company, owned by Aeryn who had a weekly radio broadcast.

Susa said it was such a wonderful shop, full of books on magic and mysticism, incense and figurines. She had a spontaneous mystical experience back in the late 1970’s, and being an Atheist, had no idea what had happened to her. In trying to research it, she ran across the Mystic Eye. She said, “I found more than books. I found a community of Witches and Pagans that changed the course of my life. I am forever grateful to that mysterious little shop and its staff, and still mourn its closing after all these years!”

Ron L. was a teenager when he discovered the Mystic Eye and would spend his hard-earned money on a book or a piece of jewelry. He loved the fountain by the window and the candle burning in the center. He made friends with one of the employees and later did a Tarot reading for her. He said it was an amazing experience.

Jem was only sixteen when she first discovered the Mystic Eye. She was intrigued by the pentagram on the floor and bought her first spell candle that day. Her path has been “many shades of magic” since then.

Robert L. used to work at the shop. He wondered what happened to the zodiac mosaic in the floor where he was initiated. He said, “If that circle could talk. . .”

Pam went to San Francisco on vacation. She fell in love with the shop and bought a crystal ball.

Mo said he had heard there were rumors that the Zodiac Killer worked at the Mystic Eye in the 70s and 80s.

Micah worked at the Mystic Eye and lived with Aeryn, the owner, from the time he was 14 until he went to college. He took care of her until her death in 2014. He said she was an amazing and knowledgeable woman, one of a kind.

Pamela had her cards read at the Mystic Eye in the late ’60s or very early ’70s. She said the scent of that storefront was so unique, as was the shop itself. Her husband made a pendant (an upside-down cross) for the infamous Anton LaVey. She said, “Yes those were the days!”

Blake remembered all the mirrors and cool stuff when he walked around North Beach, barefoot in a toga with dragons, tripping his brains out.

Nancy loved the shop and visited often. She purchased incense, body oils, little pouches of magic roots and herbs. She can still recall the aroma inside.

Scott loved the shop. He bought incense and had spells removed. He once bought a jar of incense that was labeled ‘5 plus cous-cous.’ He said, “How did we ever survive the Haight? Maybe the 5-plus cous-cous gave us eternal life.”

All these memories! I too remember the shop well. I bought candles and a book on candle-burning rituals. Who knew that so many people would remember the real Mystic Eye?

I only hope the fictional shop delivers as many good memories for readers! ♦

Serpent’s Doom

by Connie di Marco

May 23 – June 17, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Serpent's Doom by Connie di Marco

As San Francisco’s Chinatown prepares for the Lunar New Year festivities in the fogbound month of February, astrologer Julia Bonatti finds herself with three new clients, all in desperate straits who don’t seem to heed her advice. Tracy is the victim of a brutal husband with nowhere to run and Jeanette is worried sick about her son, whom she suspects has fallen in with a bad lot.

But most frightening of all to Julia is Frankie Chang’s dilemma. Frankie’s only eleven years old and he’s terrified. His mother is missing and no one will help him. Julia’s heart goes out to him but her hands are tied. Frankie won’t let her talk to the police and neither will his family.

Julia eventually discovers that the three worlds of her clients intertwine. Those lives inevitably collide exposing a dangerous smuggling cabal. Julia knows too much and becomes a victim of both a ruthless environmental group and criminals who will stop at nothing, including murder.

Kudos for Serpent’s Doom

“Connie di Marco’s twin loves of Astrology and the detective fiction genre are on full display in her latest installment of the Zodiac Mysteries: Serpent’s Doom. It makes perfect sense to fuse these two disciplines in which intelligence, intuition, and interpretation play such a key role. It’s also a delight to see Astrology driving the plot forward rather than employed as a mere gimmick. This adds dimension and suspense to how the mystery plays out and di Marco’s wonderfully cinematic prose keeps you turning the pages in increasing anticipation.”
-Christopher Renstrom, astrologer for the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Gate and Astrology Hub, author of The Cosmic Calendar and creator of rulingplanets.com

“Intriguing and riveting, Connie di Marco’s latest Zodiac Mystery, Serpent’s Doom, is a new year’s firecracker of an adventure. Told with heart and conscience, Serpent’s Doom features a superb cast and setting, with a plot right out of the headlines. The best yet in this highly original series.”
-James W. Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone Mysteries

“Connie di Marco’s Zodiac Mysteries have it all: vibrant characters, sharp and suspenseful plots and comedic interludes. I love the added bonus of astrology and metaphysics and eagerly await the next installment.”
-Karen Christino, astrologer and author of Foreseeing the Future

“San Francisco Astrologer Julia Bonatti will need more than the stars when she tries to help a boy find his missing mother. di Marco takes us on a thrill ride from Chinatown to famed Bay City locales. An enticing mystery with compelling characters who pull you in. ‘Dear Zodia, is it in the stars that Connie di Marco will write more Zodiac Mysteries?’ I certainly hope so, because I’m hooked!”
-Laurie Stevens, author of the award-winning Gabriel McKay suspense novels

“Another page-turner with San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. I alternately wanted to shake her and cheer her on as she reluctantly becomes entangled with a boy who needs her help. A fascinating look into a different culture, where involving the police is a bad idea, prompting Julia to take matters into her own hands.”
-Sheila Lowe, best-selling author of the Forensic Handwriting Mysteries and the Beyond the Veil Mysteries suspense novels

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN10: 0578326566 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9780578326566 (paperback)
ASIN: B09TSKZJ1T (Kindle edition)
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, 4th (Each is a Stand-Alone Work)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Connie di Marco

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring Julia Bonatti, a San Francisco astrologer who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lovers’ Mysteries from Berkeley Prime Crime. Her recipes and excerpts can be found in The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook and The Cozy Cookbook. Connie is a member of the Crime Writers Association (UK), Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Connie di Marco:
www.ConniediMarco.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @Connie_di_Marco
Instagram – @Connie_di_Marco
Twitter – @askzodia
Facebook – @zodiacmysteries

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Guest Post: Bryan Johnston – DEATH WARRANT

Good day, book people. Authors provide excellent advice on how to write. Many will simply say “read” in order to gain insight into what works and what doesn’t. Others may advise on studying the craft of writing, informally and formally. No doubt this is all great advice. However, today’s guest, Bryan Johnston, an accomplished writer and author of Death Warrant has some slightly different advice to give to would-be writers. He suggests you watch movies. Please help me welcome Bryan Johnston to the blog and let’s learn a bit more about watching movies and the craft of writing. Thank you, Mr. Johnston, for joining us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Watch movies to help you write your novel
by Bryan Johnston

 

I’m a huge movie fan. I even had the great good fortune to review films on television and radio for a decade. (Sweetest. Gig. Ever.) At first blush, one would think that writing a screenplay and writing a novel would be quite similar. It’s still storytelling, right? However, they are very different disciplines. An old colleague of mine, Mike Rich, who wrote the films Finding Forrester, Secretariat, and The Rookie, among others, told me recently that when he tried to write a book his editor was constantly on him to be more descriptive. He didn’t have the luxury of images on a screen to help the reader visualize something. In movies, characters are revealed through action and dialogue, while in novels the development of the players is brought to life through description and internal monologue. However, you can still learn a lot about how to structure your novel by watching movies. Case in point: scenes.

In a standard three-act movie that runs 120 minutes there will be, on average, between 40-60 scenes. About a dozen scenes in the Set-Up (the Hook), twenty-five scenes in the Confrontation (the Middle Build), and about another dozen scenes in the Resolution (the Payoff). 25%/50%/25%.

When I began writing my current work in progress, I started as I always do with a story outline and then began making short one or two-sentence descriptions of what took place in each scene. I wrote these descriptions on sticky notes and stuck them to my closet doors. I know that there’s actual software for this (Scrivener comes to mind) but I’m too tactile for that. I like to be able to stand back twelve feet from my wall of scenes and take it all in before invariably moving the sticky notes around as the story evolves.

And this is where it got interesting.

I had my sticky note scenes broken out into three acts, but I’d done it purely on instinct. I thought, hmmm, this scene wraps up the first act nicely, this scene wraps up the second act nicely, and this scene makes a strong conclusion. I hadn’t counted scenes, I hadn’t figured out the 25/50/25 percentages, I wrote it how I saw my story play out like a movie.

Here’s how the scenes are numbered:
Act 1—13 scenes
Act 2—24 scenes
Act 3—13 scenes

None of this was planned. It was completely instinctual. And if you ask me, I’d say it probably had something to do with the fact that I’ve watched a gazillion movies and the structure had ingrained itself in my head purely through osmosis.

Some writers feel flopping on the couch and binge-watching Netflix or watching a Quentin Tarantino marathon is time you could be spending writing the next great novel. I say don’t feel guilty in the least. Watching stories on the screen is a great way to see how a narrative arc is structured and carried out. As a learning tool, I’d give it two thumbs up! ♦

Death Warrant

by Bryan Johnston

June 1-30, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Death Warrant by Bryan Johnston

Death Makes Great TV.

Frankie Percival is cashing in her chips. To save her brother from financial ruin, Frankie―a single stage performer and mentalist who never made it big―agrees to be assassinated on the most popular television show on the planet: Death Warrant. Once she signs her life away, her memory is wiped clean of the agreement, leaving her with no idea she will soon be killed spectacularly for global entertainment.

After years of working in low-rent theaters, Frankie prepares for the biggest performance of her life as her Death Warrant assassin closes in on her. Every person she encounters could be her killer. Every day could be her last.

She could be a star, if only she lives that long.

Praise for Death Warrant:

“I absolutely loved Death Warrant! This will definitely make the ‘Best of 2022’ list.”
—Elle Ellsberry, Content Acquisition & Partnerships, Scribd

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: June 21st, 2022
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 074430508X (ISBN13: 9780744305081)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Bryan Johnston

Bryan Johnston takes tremendous pride in being an eleven-time Emmy award-winning writer and producer during his 25 years in local network television. Following his career in broadcast, he became the Creative Director for a Seattle-based creative agency, developing concepts and writing scripts for companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, T-Mobile, and Amazon. He has authored several books and written for numerous magazines and websites. Bryan lives in the Seattle, Washington area with his wife, two kids, and one large Goldendoodle. He is a devout movie lover, sports fan, and avid reader. His one great hope is for the Seattle Mariners to make it to the World Series before he dies. He’s not holding his breath.

Catch Up With Bryan Johnston:
www.BryanRJohnston.com
Goodreads
Twitter – @BryanRJohnston
Facebook – @bryan.johnston.370

Join us in the InstaChat at #bryanjohnston

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Guest Post: BJ Magnani – A MESSAGE IN POISON

Good day, book people. Lately I’ve been pondering the notion that most fiction is not just creativity and skill at work in crafting a believable story, but it is also often the result of hours, if not weeks or months, of research on the author’s part. Suppose you don’t have an education or work-related background in the legal field. In that case, you’re probably going to have to do quite a bit of legal research (talking to lawyers, law enforcement officers, etc.) in order to make a legal thriller realistic. Conversely, if the author is a lawyer or physician, chances are their legal or medical fiction will be slightly more authentic. I’m incredibly honored to welcome physician, Dr. BJ Magnani, author of A Message in Poison to the blog today. Dr. Magnani will be discussing doctors writing fiction with us. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share and add A Message in Poison to your ever-growing TBR list. Thank you, Dr. Magnani, for stopping by, the blog is all yours.

Doctors Writing Fiction
by BJ Magnani

 

When doctors write fiction, technical jargon flows and descriptions of medical situations are usually based on authenticity. While Dr. Lily Robinson’s medical cases are real, her assassinations are pure fiction—a winning combination. As the author, I use my knowledge of medicine to give Lily nuance. Not many people know what a pathologist does or may only have a narrow view gleaned from television. Are we the ghoul in the basement, the anti-social doctor who cannot interact with patients, or the physician who provides answers? Pathologists are sometimes called the ‘the doctor’s doctor’ because other physicians rely on us as consultants. We are the puzzle solvers and give the treating physician information to help them manage the patient. Pathologists are physicians who diagnose disease using tissues, cells, or body fluids and, based on those results, help determine prognosis and treatment. Pathologists make it happen if you need a blood test or a biopsy. Or a Covid-19 test.

Dr. Lily Robinson, the heroine of my books, is a pathologist. Her expertise is toxicology, and her comprehension of drugs allows her to help patients suffering from toxic overdoses. But she also has a dark side. Driven by guilt over the loss of her daughter, she became entrapped in the government’s plan to use her knowledge of toxins and poisons to eliminate world terrorists. Dr. Robinson rationalizes her dual existence with the mantra “the good of the many outweighs the good of the one,” or how else could she justify defying the Hippocratic oath? Like The Queen of All Poisons and The Power of Poison, A Message in Poison showcases the collision of medicine with frightening geopolitical events and the brilliant doctor who solves the puzzle.

The fun of fiction combines writing what we know with what we can imagine. ♦

A Message in Poison

by BJ Magnani

May 9 – June 3, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

A Message in Poison by BJ Magnani

Sparks fly as Dr. Lily Robinson-the brilliant academic pathologist and covert assassin for the U.S. Government-investigates two seemingly unrelated deaths alongside her lover, Agent Jean Paul Marchand, and D.C. Medical Examiner Dr. Logan Pelletier.

A U.S. Senator and the president of a developing nation are found dead in their beds. As governments thousands of miles apart react to the fallout and begin their investigations, no one claims responsibility, and no motives are clear. Yet, the cause of death implies a link between the two—one that only a mind versed in poisons and politics can decipher. With her personal relationships teetering on the brink and her loved ones facing foreign threats, Lily must unravel the mystery and uncover a plot more calculating than anyone could imagine—but it may be too late.

A Message in Poison, the third part of the Art of Secret Poisoning trilogy (The Queen of All Poisons and The Power of Poison), continues with twists and turns as Dr. Lily Robinson travels the globe, stares down death, and finds herself at “another crossroad, another choice between life real or imagined…”

The fast-paced action juxtaposes nicely with the personal dilemmas Lily faces as she uncovers a new plot that forces her to reconsider her talents and place in the world.
~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Book Details:

Genre: Medical Mystery / Thriller
Published by: Encircle Publications
Publication Date: April 20th, 2022
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 1645993256 (ISBN13: 9781645993254)
Series: A Dr. Lily Robinson Novel, The Art of Secret Poisoning Part 3
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Author Bio:

BJ Magnani

BJ Magnani (Barbarajean Magnani, PhD, MD, FCAP) is the author of the Dr. Lily Robinson novels: The Queen of All Poisons (Encircle Publications, 2019), The Power of Poison (Encircle Publications, 2021), and A Message In Poison (Encircle Publications, 2022.) Lily Robinson and the Art of Secret Poisoning (nVision Publishing, 2011) is the original collection of short stories featuring the brilliant, yet deadly, doctor. Dr. Magnani is internationally recognized for her expertise in clinical chemistry and toxicology, has been named a “Top Doctor” in Boston magazine, and was named one of the Top 100 Most Influential Laboratory Medicine Professionals in the World by The Pathologist. She is Professor of Anatomic and Clinical Pathology (and Professor of Medicine) at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and the former Chair of both the College of American Pathologists (CAP) Toxicology Committee and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tufts Medical Center.

Follow BJ Magnani on:
www.BJMagnani.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @bjmagnani
Twitter – @bjmagnani
Facebook – @bjmagnaniauthor

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Guest Post: Carin Fahr Shulusky – FINDING LIGHT IN A LOST YEAR

Good day, book people. Now that we seem to be coming out of the never-ending pandemic, there are quite a few books being released dealing with the horrors of these past two years. The emotional, psychological, and physical toll of the past two years may be felt by many of us for years to come, but we are surviving if not exactly thriving. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest, Carin Fahr Shulusky, author of Finding Light in a Lost Year. Ms. Shulusky has written about one woman’s struggle with the pandemic and she’ll be discussing that with us today. Please give a warm welcome to Ms. Carin Fahr Shulusky. Thank you, Ms. Shulusky, for joining us today and sharing some insight into your main character. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Finding Light in a Lost Year
Getting to know Roni Wright
By Carin Fahr Shulusky

 

Some of my early reviewers said it was hard to like the main character of Finding Light in a Lost Year, Veronica (Roni) Wright, at least in the beginning. I would agree. It wasn’t my goal to write a book about a perfect person. Those people are seldom interesting. Also, it’s very difficult to create a character arc for a perfect person. I think it’s far more interesting to read about a person with significant flaws who finds a way to make herself better. That is Roni Wright. I hope, however, by the end of the book all my readers will have fallen in love with her.

Roni Wright is a focused career woman. She has the “perfect” husband and the obligatory two children. She loves them all but her childrens’ nanny may know them better than she does, and she certainly is not the perfect wife. Nor is her husband an ideal husband. He too is so focused on his career, that he has ignored the problems in his family. That’s before the pandemic. I often heard from celebrities that the pandemic made them get to know their families because they could no longer travel. I suspect that is true for most people. Our lives were so hectic, racing off to work, the gym, and school we didn’t spend much time getting to know our loved ones in a deep way.

Enter the pandemic. Suddenly these people Roni saw for snippets here and there she was now spending all day with, three meals a day, 24/7. I suspect this was a common experience. I don’t think it worked well for everyone. Certainly not for Roni Wright. Before the pandemic, Roni had seldom cooked a full meal for her family and now was called on to prepare three meals a day for a family shut up together. While her career was in shambles, her husband was trying to work from home, a totally new experience for them all. Most of their previous outlets for entertainment and recreation were gone. No restaurants or movies or museums. Even some parks were closed. But Roni becomes a heroine in the story by using her career resourcefulness to guide her family through the worst pandemic in a hundred years. She learns to cook, she finds safe outlets for recreation, and she reinvents herself. In the process, she gets to know her children. Her marriage nearly falls apart, but she works on restoring that, too.

One thing Roni never counted on becoming was a teacher. She was quite comfortable leaving that job to the school and nanny. Like most parents, Roni had to walk her children through virtual learning during the pandemic. This may be the most difficult experience for most parents. Roni was no different. In the beginning, it was a disaster. But like everything else, Roni finds a creative way to make it work. She did this all while suffering not only the loss of her career but the biggest loss of her life. I suspect readers will cry at her great loss. I cried as I wrote it. But only when we are in the greatest valley, can we see the joy of the mountain top. So, it is with Roni Wright. There is light in a year of so much loss. I hope my readers find it with Roni. ♦

Finding Light in a Lost Year

by Carin Fahr Shulusky

May 16 – June 10, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Finding Light in a Lost Year by Carin Fahr Shulusky

Roni Wright thought she had everything; huge home, successful husband, kids, and a brilliant career. That is until the worse pandemic in 100 years swept away the shallow façade of her life and she nearly lost it all.

 

This is the story of how a broken family navigated the most difficult year of their lives and found hope in the middle of so much loss. You will recognize many of the things that nearly broke us all as we struggled with pandemic restrictions and the new normal. But you will cheer as they work their way out of darkness into a better world.

Book Details

Genre: Family & Relationship, Biographical Fiction
Published by: Fossil Creek Press
Publication Date: May 2022
Number of Pages: 170
ISBN: 9781736241721 (paperback)
ASIN: B09ZRMBSHG (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository.com | Bookshop.org

Author Bio:

Carin Fahr Shulusky

Carin Fahr Shulusky was born and raised in west St. Louis County. She attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, where she received a B.J (Bachelor of Journalism). After college, she worked in advertising for GE and Monsanto. She was the first professional woman in her division of each. After 25 years in Marketing, she created her own firm, Marketing Alliance. She was president of Marketing Alliance, from 2002 – 2014. She is a past president of the Business Marketing Association of St. Louis. Carin Fahr is married to Richard Shulusky. They have two grown children and one marvelous granddaughter. Grandma Carin has a lifelong love of cooking, even writing her own cookbook. In 2014 Carin retired to devote full time to writing. Her first book, In the Middle, was inspired by her own battle to care for her beloved mother, Dorothy Fahr. Many of the stories Carrie Young’s mother tells her in In the Middle came from Carin’s mother. Carin is a lifelong member of Pathfinder Church in Ellisville, Missouri, where she volunteers in early childhood.

Find Carin Online:

carinshulusky.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @cshulusky
Twitter – @shulusky
Facebook

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Guest Post: Linda L. Richards – EXIT STRATEGY

Good day, book people. I’ve been thinking about “art imitating life” quite a bit lately and decided to look up the quote (I don’t know why, my brain is weird). Oscar Wilde wrote “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life” in an 1889 essay. I don’t know if that’s always true, but I’m thankful that authors look at various situations and think “I wonder” to themselves. As readers, we reap the benefit of their creative thinking and writing talent triggered by “I wonder” scenarios. I’m honored to welcome today’s guest, Linda L. Richards, author of Exit Strategy. Ms. Richards will be discussing that all-important “what if” scenario in her writing. Thank you, Ms. Richards, for joining us today and sharing your thoughts. The blog is now all yours.

Guest Post

So much of everything is around “what if?”

In Exit Strategy, the “what if'”s occur against the backdrop of technology and high-tech financing.

What if the high concept technology around a unicorn start-up simply did not work? And what if the people involved with developing the tech and bringing in the financing understood that it did not work, but were too deeply enmeshed in everything they were creating that they couldn’t step back from it? That they had to keep crashing forward, no matter what?

Around the time I was conceiving the book that is now Exit Strategy, there was a lot of discussion about Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. She is a woman and she is beautiful, so it was very easy for public opinion to sway against her. In my mind’s eye, I saw something different. (Albeit, something that may have no bearing on reality. But this is fiction, so that’s okay, too.) What if she did not intend to deceive her investors and potential investors? What if she knew – or at least thought she knew — if she just got a bit more loot and had a bit more time, she would get it all to work out? It’s a different story then, do you see?

So Exit Strategy is not the story of Theranos or Elizabeth Holmes, though there might appear to be some connective tissue. Also, we’re layering in the perspective and contributions of the damaged hitwoman we first met in 2021’s Endings. I think that is an important piece, as well. By her very nature and all that has happened to her, our narrator’s perspective is suspect. We can’t trust her. She doesn’t even trust herself. So what we end up with is this juxtaposition of strong women on the edge of the abyss. It’s a tight rope. And I hope it works for you. And if it doesn’t, I hope it at least makes you uncomfortable. And wonder. And squirm a bit in your seat. ♦

Exit Strategy

by Linda L. Richards

May 16 – June 10, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Exit Strategy by Linda L Richards

A shattered life. A killer for hire. Can she stop?

Her assignments were always to kill someone. That’s what a hitman—or hitwoman—is paid to do, and that is what she does. Then comes a surprise assignment—keep someone alive!

She is hired to protect Virginia Martin, the stunning and brilliant chief technology officer of a hot startup with an innovation that will change the world. This new job catches her at a time in her life when she’s hanging on by a thread. Despair and hopelessness—now more intense than she’d felt after the tragic loss of her family—led her to abruptly launch this career. But over time, the life of a hired killer is decimating her spirit and she keeps thinking of ending her life.

She’s confused about the “why” of her new assignment but she addresses her mission as she always does, with skill and stealth, determined to keep this young CTO alive in the midst of the twinned worlds of innovation and high finance.

Some people have to die as she discharges her responsibility to protect this superstar woman amid the crumbling worlds of money and future technical wonders.

The spirit of an assassin—and her nameless dog—permeates this struggle to help a young woman as powerful forces build to deny her.

Fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Dexter will love Exit Strategy.

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Oceanview Publishing
Publication Date: May 17th 2022
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN10: 1608094227 (hardcover)
ISBN13: 9781608094226 (hardcover)
ASIN: ‎ B09F24MTMN (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B09ZD3VHTC (Audible audiobook)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Bookdepository.com | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richards is a journalist, photographer, and the author of 15 books, including three series of novels featuring strong female protagonists. She is the former publisher of Self-Counsel Press and the founder and publisher of January Magazine. Linda’s 2021 novel, Endings, was recently optioned by a major studio for series production.

Catch Up With Linda L. Richards:
LindaLRichards.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @linda1841
Instagram – @lindalrichards
Twitter – @lindalrichards
Facebook – @lindalrichardsauthor
TikTok – @lindalrichards

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Guest Post: Tina deBellegarde – DEAD MAN’S LEAP

DEAD MAN'S LEAP by Tina deBellegarde blog tour banner

Hello, book people. I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, I enjoy reading stories set in small towns but prefer living with big-city energy. I moved back to the capital city and largest city in my home state, and the population is less than 50,000. (I miss living in large cities such as Atlanta and Boston almost every day.) Although I’m a big-city girl at heart, I’m fascinated by the way authors captivate the feel of small-town life in their stories. I’m pleased to welcome Tina deBellegarde, author of Dead Man’s Leap, today. Ms. deBellegarde will be discussing with us the importance of crafting believable small-town dynamics in her writings. Thank you, Ms. deBellegarde for taking the time away from your writing, gardening, beehives, and traveling to join us today. The blog is now all yours.

Small Town Dynamics: Writing a Village Mystery
By Tina deBellegarde

 

One of the great joys of writing the Batavia-on-Hudson series is that I get to immerse myself in the small-town dynamics.

Ever since I was a little girl watching black and white episodes of Mayberry, all I ever wanted was to live in a town as cozy and connected as the one Opie, Aunt Bee and Sheriff Andy Taylor lived in. I savored the way the villagers all knew each other, how they celebrated and mourned together. I loved that despite their differences they treated each other as family. Mayberry was full of quirky characters but also full of realistic and idealistic characters. I luxuriated in the personal connections of all the villagers and how they cared for each other. Most of all, I took great satisfaction in the way the sheriff meted out justice through the spirit of the law above the letter of the law. I wanted to live in a town where everyone knows everyone, where I would always be an integral member.

Then ten years ago I moved to my own Mayberry. Catskill, New York is a small intimate place, where nearly everybody knows your name, where we celebrate and mourn together. We are a bunch of quirky neighbors and we accept each other as we are. Every time we open the newspaper, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad stories are about people we know.

I am both an insider and an outsider. New to town, I am naturally a member of the transplant community, a group that has grown exponentially of late. But with some effort on my part along with a job in the tiny public library, I have been accepted by the larger community of locals. My connection to the neighborhood has been such a blessing.

So, it’s no surprise that at the beginning of my writing journey, Batavia-on-Hudson materialized. I created a map of a fictitious village based on all my favorite places. Then I populated it with characters I would love to spend time with. Some are based loosely on people I know, many are purely fictitious. Then I wound them up and set them free to behave in ways that make sense for their role in the community, their personalities, their backstories.

All of my characters have extensive backstories. In many cases, only I know what they are, but I needed those backstories so that I could get to know them better. We all have extensive histories in real life, it is how we become who we are. We are the sum of all our experiences. So are the residents of Batavia-on-Hudson.

The murder or the puzzle in my books is a device that I use to drive my story forward so we can get to know the villagers, their motivations, their fears, aspirations, and flaws. We learn through the investigation that things are not what they appear, that more lies beneath the surface. These secrets may not be related to the crime being investigated, but they are eventually revealed and another layer of complexity in that particular character becomes apparent. It’s like peeling an onion.

I have come to know these villagers so well that when I think of them and speak of them, I often forget that they are fictional. They have become so real to me. Their circumstances touch me, worry me. I often find myself tearing up over an exchange between my characters. These people’s struggles matter to me. And when the story ends, and the villagers have their celebration, my heart sings. I am celebrating with them.

I have my Mayberry, it’s called Batavia-on-Hudson, and I am blessed to be a part of it. ♦

Dead Man’s Leap

by Tina deBellegarde

May 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Dead Man's Leap by Tina deBellegarde

DEAD MAN’S LEAP revisits Bianca St. Denis in Batavia-on-Hudson, New York

Rushing waters…dead bodies…secrets…

As Bianca St. Denis and her neighbors scour their attics for donations to the charity rummage sale, they unearth secrets as well as prized possessions. Leonard Marshall’s historic inn hosts the sale each year, but it is his basement that houses the key to his past. When an enigmatic antiques dealer arrives in town, he upends Leonard’s carefully reconstructed life with an impossible choice that harkens back to the past.

Meanwhile, when a storm forces the villagers of Batavia-on-Hudson to seek shelter, the river rises and so do tempers. Close quarters fuel simmering disputes, and Sheriff Mike Riley has his work cut out for him. When the floods wash up a corpse, Bianca once again finds herself teaming up with Sheriff Riley to solve a mystery. Are they investigating an accidental drowning or something more nefarious?

Dead Man’s Leap explores the burden of secrets, the relief of renunciation, and the danger of believing we can outpace our past.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 254
ISBN: 1685120849 (paperback)
ISBN13: 9781685120849 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781685120856 (ebook)
ASIN: B09QXTMCR2 (Kindle edition)
Series: A Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery, #2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N Nook Book | BookDepository.com | Bookshop.org | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Tina deBellegarde

Tina deBellegarde has been called “the Louise Penny of the Catskills.” Winter Witness, the first book in her Batavia-on-Hudson Mystery series, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel, a Silver Falchion Award, and a Chanticleer Mystery and Mayhem Award. Her story “Tokyo Stranger” which appears in the Mystery Writers of America anthology When a Stranger Comes to Town edited by Michael Koryta has been nominated for a Derringer Award. Tina’s short fiction also appears in The Best New England Crime Stories anthologies. She is the vice-president of the Upper Hudson Chapter of Sisters in Crime, a member of Mystery Writers of America and Writers in Kyoto. She lives in Catskill, New York, with her husband Denis and their cat Shelby where they tend to their beehives, harvest shiitake mushrooms, and cultivate their vegetable garden. She winters in Florida and travels to Japan regularly to visit her son Alessandro.

Catch Up With Tina deBellegarde:
tinadebellegarde.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @tinadebellegarde
Instagram – @tdb_writes
Twitter – @tdbwrites
Facebook – @tinadebellegardeauthor

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Guest Post: Kerry L. Peresta – THE RISING

THE RISING by Kerry L. Peresta blog tour banner

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and got some reading time in. Before I started this blog, I had the notion that all authors sat down at their neat desks, checked their outlines for what should be happening in the story, turned on their computers, and simply picked up where they left off the day before. I didn’t know the difference between “plotters” and “pantsers” in the writing world. I didn’t know that some authors may struggle to put down 1500 words for the day or even the week, no matter what the goal might be. Hey, life happens for authors as well, with its constant interruptions, emergencies, etc. I’m pleased to welcome, Kerry L. Peresta, author of The Rising, to the blog today. Ms. Peresta will be taking us through a not-so-very-good writing day. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share and add The Rising to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Peresta for joining us today, I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

The Most Irritating Writing Day Ever
Kerry Peresta

 

I tend to be an orderly, systematic, person. When my notes, research, and plotlines coalesce in symphonic symmetry, I want to jump out of my chair and celebrate. When this doesn’t happen, however—which is probably 60% of the time—I sink into an inertia that is wildly unpredictable.

Sigh.

Those days are hard. Let’s examine some of my main creativity-killers and outright dumb irritations that I (and perhaps some of you) experience:

1) At the top of the list is a work-at-home husband on the brink of retirement. Is there ANYthing more irritating than having a man in the home on an intense Zoom meeting, unable to temper his uber-loud and energetic tone of voice? Plus, the guy trots in at least three times during my peak writing hours to give me a ‘status update’. It is endearing that he feels he must share with his wife every jot and tittle of his daily progress, but my zone is interrupted, my irritation quotient is off the charts, and my plotline is toast by the time he finishes updating me. The only thing that prevents mass interruptions while I’m writing is listening to music or white noise in my earbuds at damaging decibel levels. Apparently, this is something I must accept until he’s fully retired and I can shoo him away to go fishing or ride his bicycle or do random man-stuff. For hours, hopefully.

2) A phone call from one of my four grown kids. Now, I adore my kids. Three are married and one is single. All have decent jobs and pay their own bills and enjoy sweet families. If something major happens, I don’t care what time they call, I’m there for them. However, when I’m in my writing bubble, I’m not sure they understand my need to reschedule our conversation. I understand (and am delighted) that they still need mommy occasionally, but could they put their issues on hold until early afternoon? Just saying. Interrupt my morning writing time and boom, spurt of creativity takes major hit.

3) Cat on computer. Cat behind computer. Cat underneath chair. Cat in windowsill. Cat meowing for food. Cat jumping in lap. I bet I am virtually listening to a big, bunch of resounding high fives out there. Writers love their cats. I love my ginger, Felix; and my tuxedo, Agnes. They irritate me to no end while I labor at my Wayfair, L-shaped, pressed-wood desk, but would I want to live without them? Impossible. Besides, eventually they settle into little, furry, doughnuts of contentment on the couch in my office.

4) It is so darn irritating when I’m pecking away at my laptop and the weather is perfect. Sunny, a light breeze flitting through the leaves, the birds at their feeders, flowers at peak bloom, temps climbing to a perfect 78 degrees. It’s too inviting and I cannot resist enjoying the outdoors. Unless I have to turn in something within hours, it is useless to try to focus on my laptop screen.

Unless I have to.

Which is equally irritating.

5) Too many sneak peeks at Amazon stats to see how well my latest book is doing. I am so exhilarated when the ranking stats drop below 5,000 in a category or maybe even below 1,000 that I can write all day. If the stats soar—in that same category— to over 20,000…I’m pretty much guaranteed to be in a bad mood for a while, which derails my zone.

I should quit doing that. Really.

6) The lawn guys show up. They mow, and then they’re blowing off everything in sight with their high-powered gas blowers and they are RIGHT OUTSIDE MY WINDOW. I turn up the white noise in my earbuds. I try to ignore their friendly smiles. I try to focus on my fingers on the keyboard. Finally, I slump in my chair and wait it out. If they’re super-duper fast it’ll only take five minutes. On a bad day, ten. Yes, I could write somewhere else when they come, but I love my desk.

And my monitor. And my desk chair.

So I endure the lawn guys. It’s a minor irritation.

7) Lunchtime happens. I am probably the biggest non-foodie on the planet. I eat because my body won’t let me get by with not eating, and that’s the truth. I consider food a fuel, like gas in a car. If there was a pill, I’d take it and keep writing. So when noon or one rolls around, and my stomach starts to grumble…with a big sigh, I leave my keyboard and go pull out stuff from the fridge, throw it together, think about something else that will make the meal ‘balanced’ or whatever. It’s a huge irritation because I don’t like to take the time to fix a meal, and then…there’s clean-up.

I am chuckling as I type this post, realizing afresh how much I love to sit and write my heart out and plot and delight in the twists that happen under my fingers. It is magic, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to write in an environment with no distractions! Yes.

But mostly, I grit my teeth and stay in my chair until 1500 words is done, and try to push away the various irritants that swirl around me like flies. Sometimes I make it to 2,500 words in a day. Even 5,000.

But if the irritants align and all the above-referenced situations happen in one day? One morning? One hour?

No one wants to be around me then. ♦

The Rising

by Kerry L Peresta

May 1-31, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Rising by Kerry L Peresta

After an assault that landed her in a hospital as a Jane Doe two years earlier, Olivia Callahan has regained her speech, movement, and much of the memory she lost due to a traumatic brain injury. The media hype about the incident has faded away, and Olivia is ready to rebuild her life, but her therapist insists she must continue to look back in order to move forward. The only person that can help her recall specifics is her abusive ex-husband, Monty, who is in prison for murder. The thought of talking to Monty makes her skin crawl, but for her daughters’ sake and her own sanity, she must learn more about who she was before the attack.

Just as the pieces of her life start falling into place, she stumbles across the still-warm body of an old friend who has been gruesomely murdered. Her dream of pursuing a peaceful existence is shattered when she learns the killer left evidence behind to implicate her in the murder. The only person that would want to sabotage her is Monty—but he’s in prison! Something sinister is going on, and Olivia is desperate to uncover the truth before another senseless murder is committed.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Suspense, Mystery
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Number of Pages: 300
ISBN: 168512092X (paperback)
ISBN13: 9781685120924 (paperback)
ASIN: B09WDXLM72 (Kindle edition)
Series: Olivia Callahan Suspense, Book 2
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Author Bio:

Kerry L Peresta

Kerry’s publishing credits include a popular newspaper column, “The Lighter Side,” (2009—2011), and magazine articles in Local Life Magazine, The Bluffton Breeze, Lady Lowcountry, and Island Events Magazine. She is the author of three published novels, The Hunting, women’s fiction, The Deadening, Book One of the Olivia Callahan Suspense Series, and The Rising, Book Two. Book Three in this series releases in 2023 by Level Best Books. She spent twenty-five years in advertising as an account manager, creative director, editor, and copywriter. She is past chapter president of the Maryland Writers’ Association and a current member and presenter of Hilton Head Island Writers’ Network, South Carolina Writers Association, and the Sisters in Crime organization. Kerry and her husband moved to Hilton Head Island, SC, in 2015. She is the mother of four adult children and has a bunch of wonderful grandkids who remind her what life is all about.

Catch Up With Kerry L Peresta:
www.KerryPeresta.net
Goodreads
BookBub – @kerryperesta
Instagram – @kerryperesta
Twitter – @kerryperesta
Facebook – @klperesta

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This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Tours for The Rising by Kerry L Peresta. See the widget for entry terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

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