Guest Post: Robert Douglass – THE LITTLE TOWN OF SUMMERVILLE

 

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

Capturing The Style of My Favorite Author

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

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

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

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

Robert Douglass
R. T. Douglass

The Little Town of Summerville

A Dog Named Chubby

by Robert Douglass

December 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Little Town of Summerville by Robert Douglass

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Robert Douglass

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

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

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

Tour Participants:

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Guest Post: V.M. Burns – KILLER WORDS

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

The Beauty of a Cozy Series

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Killer Words


Killer Words (Mystery Bookshop)

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

About V.M. Burns

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

Author Links

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

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

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

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

November 30 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

December 1 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

December 1 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 2 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

December 2 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW

December 2 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

December 3 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

December 4 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

December 4 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

December 5 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

December 6 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

December 6 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

December 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST

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

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

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

December 9 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

December 9 – Nellie’s Book Nook – REVIEW

December 10 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

December 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW

December 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

December 12 – BookishKelly2020 – SPOTLIGHT

Tour-wide Giveaway

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

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

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

My Favorite Character in the Viceroy series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

The Counsel of the Cunning

by Steven C. Harms

November 8 – December 3, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Steven C. Harms

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

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

Tour Participants:

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

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Guest Post: C. Matthew Smith – TWENTYMILE

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith Banner

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of individual chooses this life?

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

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

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

Twentymile

by C. Matthew Smith

November 15 – December 10, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith

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

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

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

Praise for Twentymile:

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

 

Author Bio:

C. Matthew Smith

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

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

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!
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This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for C. Matthew Smith. There will be TWO winners. ONE (1) winner will receive (1) $25 Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE (1) winner will receive one (1) signed physical copy of Twentymile by C. Matthew Smith. The giveaway runs November 15 through December 12, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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

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

A Glimpse Behind The Scenes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Meet the Author

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

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

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

Giveaway

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

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Guest Post: Carmen Amato – CLIFF DIVER

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

Could You Be a Cliff Diver?
By Carmen Amato

Picture this.

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

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

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

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

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

Either way, you’re dead.

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

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

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

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

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

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

So are you.

Grab your copy of Cliff Diver and find out!

Cliff Diver

by Carmen Amato

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato

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

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

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

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

“Consistently exciting”
Kirkus Reviews

“A wonderful crime mystery”
— MysterySequels.com

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

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Carmen Amato

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour Participants:

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

Click here to view Cliff Diver by Carmen Amato Tour Hosts

Enter to Win:

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

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Guest Post: Elizabeth Goddard – DEADLY TARGET

DEADLY TARGET by Elizabeth Goddard

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

The Strategic Use of Fear
by Elizabeth Goddard

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

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

Deadly Target

by Elizabeth Goddard

November 1-30, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

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

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

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

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

Book Details:

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

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Present Danger and the Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold over one million copies. She is a Carol Award winner and a Daphne du Maurier Award finalist. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, traveling to find inspiration for her next book, and serving with her husband in ministry.

For more information about Elizabeth Goddard, visit her website at:
www.ElizabethGoddard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram – @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter – @bethgoddard
Facebook – @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

Tour Participants:

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GIVEAWAY:

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

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Guest Post: Melkart Rouhana – GREATNESS IS NOWhere

Good day, book people. I often wonder where authors get their inspiration or ideas from, whether they’re writing fiction or nonfiction, I’m interested in their inspiration for writing. This is especially true for books that might be categorized as self-help. Yes, the author wants to help but help with what specifically and why? It is for this reason that I’m pleased to welcome motivational speaker, consultant, and executive coach Melkart Rouhana, author of Greatness is NOWhere to the blog. You don’t necessarily have to be in business to gain wisdom from his teachings. I hope you’ll enjoy what Mr. Rouhana has to say as he provides insight into how he came up with Greatness is NOWhere. Thank you, Mr. Rouhana, for taking time away from your hectic schedule to share with us today, the blog is now yours.

"Guest Post" with books divider

Greatness is not exclusive to athletes, famous people or great organizations who have left their footprints in our world. Greatness concerns you, and me. The title ‘Greatness is NOWhere‘ is purposefully playful. How did you read it? Greatness is nowhere OR greatness is NOW here? In the last 10 years roaming the world, coaching executives, and enabling greatness in some of the most celebrated organizations, people mostly see “nowhere” instead of “NOW here” and accordingly attract mediocrity. Why? As human beings, we are wired to exaggerate the negative because it helped us survive the dark ages. We moved beyond those days though, but we still carry this ‘shredder’ that rips out our energy, and robs us of our dreams. ‘Greatness is NOWhere‘ is founded on one simple truth: Every human being is versed in greatness and our purpose is to chase and unveil the best of ourselves, our teams, and our organizations.

The 65000 words in this book are literally written in every corner of this world. I remember writing a few pages in Angola, Africa, continuing the chapter while on a 40,000 feet flight en route to Paris, to finally finish the chapter in Atlanta. In this book, I share 3 principles, 15 truths, and 20 tools to jazz up your culture, pep up your people, spice up your customer experience, and ultimately unleash greatness.

Principle 1: You can’t be what your culture is not
How do you promote and inspire a winning culture that literally shapes everything you do?
Truth #1: A purpose-driven culture is a culture worth living.
Truth #2: Every culture has a silver lining: The Attar Factor.
Truth #3: Make culture happen. For real. Every day!
Truth #4: With oxytocin we charge.
Truth #5: This is the era of agility.

Principle 2: You can’t be what your people are not
How do you translate talent to performance, and bring out the gold in others?
Truth #6: Talent alone is not enough
Truth #7: Rethink leadership: All bets are off!
Truth #8: Autonomy is the ruling currency
Truth #9: Bring out the gold: A to Z
Truth #10: Energy: The supreme power

Principle 3: You can’t be what your investment is not
How do you bring your investment to the world, and convert your customer experience into one that chills and thrills?
Truth #11: The language of emotions
Truth #12: The Holy Grail of customer experience
Truth #13: Spice up your experience
Truth #14: Uncover the cream of the crop
Truth #15: 19 for COVID-19

The call is for greatness.You have a voice. Choose the road to greatness.
Capture your moment. Raise your flag. Sing your song.
And remember, Greatness is NOW here!

Book Cover: GREATNESS IS NOW hereGreatness is NOWhere: Three Principles to Jazz up Your Culture, Pep up Your People, and Spice up Your Customer Experience by Melkart Rouhana
ISBN: 9781737844303 (hardcover)
ASIN: ‎B09K3GPSLN (Kindle edition)
Release Date: November 1, 2021
Publisher: MRT Books
Genre: Nonfiction | Business Management | Leadership & Motivation | Success Self-Help

Greatness is the ability to unleash the best version of yourself, your team, and your organization.

Ever since the dawn of civilization, greatness has been the voice of our human spirit. It is not an outcome, but a way of living. We are in a constant chase after meaning and progress. We seek to find the best possible version of everything, including ourselves, yearning to unleash our potential and make an impact.

Greatness is not exclusive to athletes or famous people who have left their footprints in our world. It concerns every one of us-you and me, people who choose to find meaning, the voice to lead a purpose-driven life, and the courage to make a meaningful contribution. Can you imagine the impact you and your organization would have if you harness the power of greatness and tap into the highest reaches of potential, inspiration, and execution?

Greatness is not a philosophy or a strategy. It is a deliberate commitment to inspire engaged colleagues, fashion customer excitement, produce exponential results, and leave a distinct footprint in the world. In Greatness is NOWhere, Melkart examines three principles to enable greatness:

Principle 1: You can’t be what your culture is not

How do you promote and inspire a winning culture-that intangible and hidden mark of distinction that literally shapes everything you do?

Principle 2: You can’t be what your people are not

How do you translate talent to performance, surround yourself with the right, talented, and passionate colleagues, and bring out the gold in others?

Principle 3: You can’t be what your investment is not

How do you bring your investment to the world, deliberately evoke emotions in your customers, and convert your customer experience into one that chills and thrills?

Greatness is NOWhere answers all these questions and more and shares three Principles, 15 Truths, and 20 Tools to jazz up your culture, pep up your people, spice up your customer experience, and ultimately unleash greatness.

The Truths presented in this book represent the accumulation of knowledge and insights Melkart Rouhana have gained throughout the years, drawing on a wealth of thoughts, practices, and experiences of great organizations, executives, authors, researchers, and practitioners. In Greatness is NOWhere, Melkart Rouhana shares a roadmap that will guide you to find greatness and lead your people and organization to ultimately unleash their potential and, in the process, impact the future of our world.

The call is for greatness.

You have a voice.

Choose the road to greatness.

Step up! The choice is yours.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com

 

Meet the Author

Author Melkart RouhanaMelkart Rouhana is the Chief Engagement Officer of MRT Consultants. He is a world-renowned culture, leadership, and service expert, and is a highly sought-after keynote speaker.

Named “The Rock Star of Customer Service” by Porsche executives and “the Engagement Magician” by top hoteliers, Melkart has held previous positions as corporate director of global learning at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and corporate head of learning and development for Emaar Hospitality Group and Armani Hotels and Resorts, to name few. He also coaches on the Executive MBA program for London Business School, and is the co-founder of the Culture and Performance Forum.

Melkart’s philosophy has been recognized as foundational and has been instrumental to the success of some of the most celebrated companies and institutions around the globe.

Connect with the author at: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Website

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Guest Post: Barbara Krasnoff – NEW YORK: GIVE ME YOUR BEST OR YOUR WORST

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst Banner

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. Most of you are aware that I’m an avid, if not fanatical reader. What you may not know, is that at one point in time, my life was all about music. I auditioned for the famous High School for the Performing Arts as well as Julliard in NYC. My eldest brother had moved to New York after his graduation from Harvard, and I spent a number of summers in New York during the mid-1970s. As a small-town girl from Charleston, West Virginia, I was awed by New York City, especially Times Square. As a result of my brother’s assistance with my auditions, the summers I spent visiting him, NYC will always have a special place in my heart. It is for this reason that I am very pleased to welcome Barbara Krasnoff, a contributor to the book New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst. Please help me welcome Ms. Krasnoff to the blog today. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say, perhaps reminisce about your own visits to New York, and perhaps add the book to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Krasnoff, for joining us, the blog is now yours.

Times Square, Then and Now

For New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

by Barbara Krasnoff

Back in the late 1970s, three friends of mine from upstate New York decided that they wanted to see Times Square. I wasn’t particularly eager to join them. I grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Brooklyn, was already familiar with the area (having saved up for my share of standing-room spaces at Broadway shows), and found nothing particularly romantic about the porn palaces and sex shops that then populated the area, not to mention the various predators looking for unwary victims. But when they insisted, I figured it might be a good idea for them to have a local guide.

We got out of the subway at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street, and walked east on 42nd towards Times Square. My friends slowly wandered down the street, chatting, looking at the movie marquees and bookstore signs, and paying no attention to what was happening in their immediate vicinity. I dropped back so that I walked several paces behind them, and kept watch.

Just as well. After a minute or two, a man who had been leaning against a building casually walked over so that he was just behind one of my friends (a young man who had not taken my advice about putting his wallet in his front pocket). The man looked around and caught my eye. We stared at each other for a very brief moment, then he grinned, and backed off.

I was very grateful when we hit Times Square proper. I never told my friends.

Today’s Times Square is, as we all know, a very different place. It is now a corporate wonderland full of tourist-friendly shops of the kind that you can find in any premium mall around the U.S. Of course, there are still the Broadway theaters (assuming you can afford a ticket), and New York is, well, still New York. I am grateful to be able to visit Times Square (well, pre-pandemic Times Square) without that sense of hyper-vigilance I used to feel was necessary, even if it means I have to fight my way through ridiculous costumed characters and stifling crowds of visitors.

But I have other friends — older friends who spent most of their lives in the city — who remember the dirty, dangerous Times Square of the 1970s and early 1980s as their Times Square, a seedy wonderland that belonged to them and not to the tourists. They sometimes wish they could have it back.

Remembering that incident — and others — I can’t really agree. But I do understand.

Meet the Author:

Barbara Krasnoff was born and raised in Brooklyn, and has the accent to prove it. She has had short stories published in over 45 print and online publications and is the author of The History of Soul 2065, a novel of interconnected tales. Her story “Sabbath Wine,” which was published in the anthology Clockwork Phoenix 5, was a Nebula Award finalist. When not writing speculative fiction, she earns her living as Reviews Editor at The Verge. You can find her website at Brooklynwriter.com or catch her on Twitter as @BarbK.

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

Presented by: Elizabeth Crowens

October 25 – November 19, 2021 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst

An Anthology and Celebration of the Big Apple

I’m an unabashed, unapologetic lover of New York City, my hometown, and New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst is right up my dark, deserted alley. New York’s at its best when you sneak up on it, glance at its sideways, or let it glance sideways at you. The pros and photos in this collection all show New York’s best, even when they purport to be showing its worst; in NYC, that’s how we roll. A fine addition to your New York bookshelf, a collection to savor.
~ SJ Rozen, best-selling author of The Art of Violence

Book Details:

Genre: Coffee Table book of Photography with Short Stories
Published by: Atomic Alchemist Productions, LLC
Publication Date: Oct 25, 2021
Number of Pages: 150
ISBN: 1950384136, 9781950384136
Purchase Links: Amazon | BookBaby | The Mysterious Bookshop | Goodeareads

About New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst:

Elizabeth Crowens with Author photo with Reed Farrel Coleman

Writer and photographer, Elizabeth Crowens is one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive funding through the City Artist Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre.

She was recognized for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst, her photo-illustrated anthology, which brought her published book along with ten other authors to Mysterious Bookshop in Lower Manhattan at 58 Warren Street on Monday, October 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. for an in-store event and author signing along with a simultaneous Facebook Live presentation and recording for Jim Freund’s WBAI program Hour of the Wolf.

Author contributors include:

  • Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of over 31 award-winning mystery and thriller novels, including the Jesse Stone series for the estate of Robert B. Parker. Called a hard-boiled poet by NPR’s Maureen Corrigan.
  • Charles Salzberg, former magazine journalist, crime novelist of the Shamus Award-nominated Henry Swann series, founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.
  • Tom Straw, Emmy and WGA-nominated writer-producer, credits include Nurse Jackie, Night Court, Grace Under Fire, Whoopie, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Crime novelist under the pen name of Richard Castle.
  • Randee Dawn, Entertainment journalist for Today.com, Variety, and the Los Angeles Times. Co-editor of Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles and The Law & Order: SUV Companion, and speculative fiction writer of the upcoming Tune in Tomorrow.
  • Barbara Krasnoff, Reviews Editor at The Verge, over 45 published short stories, Nebula Award finalist, author of the “mosaic” novel The History of Soul 2065.
  • Steven Van Patten, TV stage manager by day, horror writer by night. Co-host of the Beef, Wine and Shenanigans podcast, winner of several African American Literary Awards.
  • Triss Stein writes mysteries that all take place in Brooklyn.
  • Marco Conelli, former NYPD detective, consultant to Mary Higgins Clark, and Silver Falchion award-winner for young adult mysteries and the police procedural Cry For Help, taking place in The Bronx.
  • R.J. Koreto, historical mystery writer focusing on New York during the Gilded Age.
  • Richie Narvaez, award-winning mystery author of Hipster Death Rattle, Holly Hernandez and the Death of Disco, and Noiryorican.
  • Elizabeth Crowens, over 25 years in the entertainment industry, member of the International Cinematographers Guild as a Still Photographer (Imdb.com credited: Sheri Lane), award-winning writer of novels in the Hollywood mystery and alternate history genres. Recipient of the Leo B. Burstein Scholarship by the NY Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Editor and photographer for New York: Give Me Your Best or Your Worst based on her Facebook Caption Contests. elizabethcrowens.com, @Ecrowens on Twitter, and Elizabeth Crowens on Facebook!

 

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Guest Post: M.E. Browning – MERCY CREEK

Mercy Creek by M.E. Browning Banner

Good day, book people. One of my go-to genres for reading are mysteries and suspense. Ever since my youngest brother became a police officer in our hometown, many years ago, I’ve been particularly attracted to mysteries and suspense featuring police officers or others in the law enforcement arena. However, I’m very particular with books featuring law enforcement officers (LEO) is that the LEOs must be realistic as well as the action. Stories that are taken from the headlines or feature realistic cases are my preference. Needless to say, the authors that write in the genre are rock stars to me. I’m pleased to welcome one such author today. Please help me welcome M.E. Browning, author of the recently released Mercy Creek, the second book in the Jo Wyatt Mysteries series. Ms. Browning will be discussing facts in fiction when dealing with a missing child. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share with us, add Mercy Creek to your TBR list, and follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and author. Thank you, Ms. Browning, for taking the time to join us today, the blog is all yours.

When a Child Goes Missing: Facts in Fiction

Few police investigations are more fraught with emotion than a report of a missing child. Sadly, more than 365,000 children went missing in 2020 according to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. Some of those children were runaways, others were abducted by a parent or family member. Still others were found almost immediately in their own home or at a friend’s.

At the heart of my next novel, Mercy Creek, is a missing child case. My protagonist, Detective Jo Wyatt, leads her investigation in much the same way that law enforcement does in real-life cases.

On television there is often an obligatory scene where an officer—usually surly and intentionally unhelpful—states that a person must be missing for twenty-four hours before the police department can take action. That is false.

How an investigation proceeds is often determined by the missing person’s risk factors. Law enforcement takes into account mental or behavioral disabilities, medical issues that require drugs, if they’ve already been missing for more than 24 hours before being reported, or any other situation causing a reasonable person to believe the person is at risk. Age alone may be enough to determine if a child is at risk as many jurisdictions treat children under a threshold age as incapable of self-care (for example eleven years old or younger).

Custody issues between divorced parents have accounted for more than a few missing children. I’ve responded to plenty of civil standby calls to ensure estranged parents behaved during their custody exchanges. Occasionally, a parent was late to the exchange—either out of spite or to exert control. It was meant to punish the other parent, not the child. But familial abductions happen far too frequently and in 2020, 63 percent of all AMBER alerts issued were due to a child being abducted by a member of their own family.

For those not familiar with the term, the AMBER Alert System is a cooperative effort between law enforcement and the media in the event of a child abduction. The name pays homage to nine-year-old Amber Hagerman whose kidnapping and murder spurred the system’s creation, but the acronym stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, and the program is administered within the Department of Justice (DOJ).

AMBER Alerts are only one of many tools available to law enforcement when investigating a missing child. There is a vast number of FBI resources that local jurisdictions may request. However, not every tool is appropriate or available for each investigation.

Common requests include aircraft, artists, blood pattern specialists, botanists, crime scene technicians, evidence response teams, entomologists, ground-penetrating radar, pathologists, search and rescue teams, tracking dogs, and underwater search and rescue teams.

The support Detective Jo Wyatt requests for her investigation in Mercy Creek is tailored to the southwest Colorado terrain of her rural jurisdiction and includes search and rescue teams for both land and water, K9 teams, and more. She would be the first to tell you that working a missing child case takes an emotional toll on everyone involved. The crushing reality is that not every investigation has a happy ending, and not every child is found. But Jo would also be quick to point out that the glue holding search and investigative teams together is hope. ♦

Mercy Creek

by M.E. Browning

October 11 – November 5, 2021 Tour

Synopsis:

Mercy Creek by M.E. Browning

In an idyllic Colorado town, a young girl goes missing—and the trail leads into the heart and mind of a remorseless killer.

The late summer heat in Echo Valley, Colorado turns lush greenery into a tinder dry landscape. When a young girl mysteriously disappears, long buried grudges rekindle. Of the two Flores girls, Marisa was the one people pegged for trouble. Her younger sister, Lena, was the quiet daughter, dutiful and diligent—right until the moment she vanished.

Detective Jo Wyatt is convinced the eleven-year-old girl didn’t run away and that a more sinister reason lurks behind her disappearance. For Jo, the case is personal, reaching far back into her past. But as she mines Lena’s fractured family life, she unearths a cache of secrets and half-lies that paints a darker picture.

As the evidence mounts, so do the suspects, and when a witness steps forward with a shocking new revelation, Jo is forced to confront her doubts, and her worst fears. Now, it’s just a matter of time before the truth is revealed—or the killer makes another deadly move.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: October 12th 2021
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 1643857622 (ISBN13: 9781643857626)
ISBN: 9781643857633 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781666520835 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B08SVMSNXG (Kindle edition)
ASIN: B09DHJH9ZZ (Audible audiobook)
Series: A Jo Wyatt Mystery, Book 2 || Each mystery in the A Jo Wyatt Mystery series is a stand alone novel.
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Penguin Random House | IndieBound.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | eBooks.com | !ndigo | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Author Bio:

M.E. Browning

M.E. Browning writes the Colorado Book Award-winning Jo Wyatt Mysteries and the Agatha-nominated and award-winning Mer Cavallo Mysteries (as Micki Browning). Micki also writes short stories and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in dive magazines, anthologies, mystery magazines, and textbooks. An FBI National Academy graduate, Micki worked in municipal law enforcement for more than two decades and retired as a captain before turning to a life of crime… fiction.

Catch Up With M.E. Browning:
MEBrowning.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram – @mickibrowning
Twitter – @MickiBrowning
Facebook – @MickiBrowningAuthor

Tour Participants:

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

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for M.E. Browning. There will be TWO winners. ONE winner will receive (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and ONE winner will receive one (1) physical copy of Mercy Creek by M.E. Browning (U.S. addresses only). The giveaway runs October 11 through November 7, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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