Guest Post: Jim Nesbitt – THE DEAD CERTAIN DOUBT

Good day, book people, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day for those of you celebrating. I’ll be celebrating by reading, what can I say, I’m a self-professed book diva! Although I love reading, I am not an expert in differentiating between all of the different genres and subgenres in fiction. I’m still learning about the fundamental differences between mysteries, suspense, police procedurals, cozies, noir, hard-boiled fiction, and more. I’m pleased to welcome today’s guest, Jim Nesbitt, author of the Ed Earl Burch novels, including the latest addition, The Dead Certain Doubt. Mr. Nesbitt will be sharing his thoughts on hard-boiled detective fiction with us today. I’m eager to learn more about this crime fiction genre. So sit back, grab your favorite beverage of choice, and let’s learn a bit more about hard-boiled fiction. Thank you, Mr. Nesbitt, for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.

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I’ve always thought of hard-boiled detective fiction as an American art form.

At their finest, these crime stories are far more than a lone figure trying to unravel a mystery — they’re commentaries on politics, culture, music, the uneasy relationship between men and women, and the bottomless depravity and cruelty of human nature.

All within service of the story, of course. But done right, these aren’t mere asides. They’re markers that reveal a character’s likes, dislikes, obsessions, and motivations, adding depth to the portrait started by dialogue and action with other characters.

The best of the breed also creates a keen sense of time and place. Too many authors pay little attention to setting, either waxing poetic about landscape with no real purpose in mind or spinning one-dimensional descriptions that have all the depth of a scenery flat at the local playhouse. The best spins a setting so vivid and real that it becomes a character unto itself that shapes the human characters as they move across and react to it. Again, adding more depth.

Sometimes, a writer draws such an enduring image of place that they become indelibly linked to it. Think Raymond Chandler and Los Angeles. Or John D. MacDonald and small-town Florida, a grifter’s paradise.

As a journalist, I spent a lot of time chasing stories on the Texas-Mexico border and fell in love with the harsh, stark, and craggy beauty of West Texas, its desert flatlands and its colliding mountains. It is a land that can be both grim and awe-inspiring. I found it to be the perfect setting for the violent tales of revenge and redemption I was trying to tell in my Ed Earl Burch hard-boiled crime thrillers.

Here’s a short example from my third Ed Earl novel, The Best Lousy Choice:

He almost died in this stark and primal country and he still had
those demons lurking in their rocky holes. But as he drove north, he was a hunter unafraid, a cop working his bloody trade and drawn to the grim beauty of these unforgiving mountains and the way they clashed and collided — the Rockies slicing in from the northwest, vestiges of the Ozarks creeping in from the northeast and the Sierra del Carmens knifing out of the southwest and Mexico.

It was as if the gods, ancient, angry and always thirsty for blood, had ripped open the flesh of the earth and exposed its bones. It was savage country, inhabited by spirits more terrible than the demons of his nightmares.

It was a place where those demons couldn’t hide. If they arose, they’d be out and exposed in the burning sun where Burch could see them — in the blinding light, their hold on him broken by the harsh glare of the land itself. If he lived here, he wouldn’t need the whiskey salvation and the half-a-Percodan sacrament.

At the center of these books is a lone wolf who relies on brains, brawn, and a threadbare code in grim pursuit of answers that may not lead to anything resembling justice. That’s the kind of story I set out to tell in my hard-boiled crime thrillers. And the type of character I created in Ed Earl Burch.

I wanted Burch to be deeply flawed — tough, profane, reckless, and just smart enough, but angst-driven and battered by life. A guy who sometimes forgets the code he lives by until the chips are down. He isn’t super sharp like Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe — he’s dogged rather than brilliant. And he isn’t super cool like Frank Bullitt. He’s Columbo without the caricature — and he makes people pay for underestimating him.

I’ll let you judge whether I hit the mark in my latest book, The Dead Certain Doubt. Thanks for taking a quick hop around my block and letting me yack a bit about why I write hard-boiled crime thrillers that feature an ornery good ol’ boy who is, in the words of one reviewer, “nobody’s hero, nobody’s fool.” ♦

The Dead Certain Doubt: An Ed Earl Burch Novel

by Jim Nesbitt

March 13 – April 7, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

The Dead Certain Doubt by Jim Nesbitt

Revenge, Guilt, Redemption & Gunsmoke

When Doubt Is Your Only Friend

Ed Earl Burch, a cashiered Dallas murder cop, is a private detective facing the relentless onslaught of age, bad choices, guilt and regret. Smart, tough, profane and reckless, he’s a survivor who relies on his own guts and savvy and expects no help or salvation from anybody.

But he’s also a man who longs for the sense of higher calling he felt when he carried a homicide detective’s gold shield. He seeks redemption and a chance to make amends to a dying old woman he abandoned decades ago when she needed him most.

When he sees her again, she has the same request — save her granddaughter from the vicious outlaws on her trail and bring her home for a final goodbye. Easier said than done because the granddaughter is a hardened hustler and gunrunner, hellbent on avenging a lover who got chopped up and stuffed into a barbecue smoker by cartel gunsels and a rival smuggler.

To fulfill the old woman’s last request, Burch heads back to the borderlands of West Texas on a mercy mission that plunges him into a violent world of smugglers, cartel killers, crooked lawmen, Bible-thumping hucksters, anti-government extremists and an old nemesis who wants to see him dead.

The odds are long and Burch has his doubts — about himself, the granddaughter, old friends and the elusive nature of grace from guilt. Truth be told, doubt is the only thing he’s dead certain of.

Grace Or A Desert Grave?

Book Details:

Genre: Hard-Boiled Crime Thriller
Published by: Spotted Mule Press
Publication Date: February 28, 2023
Number of Pages: 306
ISBN: 9780998329451 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BX4NBF4J (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository.com

Praise for The Dead Certain Doubt:

“Gritty and tough with enough despicable West Texas hombres to fill a tour bus.”
—Bruce Robert Coffin, award-winning author of the Detective Byron mysteries

“Rough days and harsh nights seem like paradise before it’s all over….”
—Rod Davis, author of the Southern noir novels, South, America and East of Texas, West of Hell

“A no-holds-barred mission of revenge, redemption and righting wrong from the past….”
—R.G. Belsky, author of the Clare Carlson mysteries

“The pace is swift, the action is raw and the characters are intense and visual.”
—Carmen Amato, author of the Emilia Cruz and Galliano Club mystery series

“Ed Earl Burch will guide you through the last arroyo with wit, truly memorable dialogue and locations you’d like to visit…with a gun.”
—John William Davis, author of Rainy Street Stories and Around the Corner

The Dead Certain Doubt is a thrilling, lightning-paced, ferocious crime novel. Highly recommended!”
—Rich Zahradnik, author of The Bone Records and Lights Out Summer, winner of the 2018 Shamus Award for Best Paperback Private Eye Novel

Author Bio:

Jim Nesbitt

Jim Nesbitt is the award-winning author of four hard-boiled Texas crime thrillers that feature battered but relentless Dallas PI Ed Earl Burch — The Last Second Chance, a Silver Falchion finalist; The Right Wrong Number, an Underground Book Reviews “Top Pick”; and, his latest, The Best Lousy Choice, winner of the best crime fiction category of the 2020 Independent Press Book Awards, the 2020 Silver Falchion award for best action and adventure novel from the Killer Nashville crime fiction conference and bronze medal winner in the best mystery/thriller e-book category of the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His latest book is The Dead Certain Doubt, which was released in early March. Nesbitt was a journalist for more than 30 years, serving as a reporter, editor, and roving national correspondent for newspapers and wire services in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. He chased hurricanes, earthquakes, plane wrecks, presidential candidates, wildfires, rodeo cowboys, migrant field hands, neo-Nazis, and nuns with an eye for the telling detail and an ear for the voice of the people who give life to a story. His stories have appeared in newspapers across the country and in magazines such as Cigar Aficionado and American Cowboy. He is a lapsed horseman, pilot, hunter, and saloon sport with a keen appreciation for old guns, vintage cars and trucks, good cigars, aged whiskey, and a well-told story. Nesbitt regularly reviews crime fiction and history on his blog, The Spotted Mule, and his author website, as well as on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads. He now lives in Athens, Alabama.

To learn more, visit him at:
JimNesbittBooks.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @edearl56
Facebook – @edearlburchbooks

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Guest Post: Richard Podkowski – THE WALK-ON

Greetings, my bookish peeps. I’ve previously stated that I thoroughly enjoy reading books set in cities and towns I’m familiar with from past visits. It doesn’t seem to matter that those visits might have been 40 or even 50 years ago, there’s usually enough memory left for a sense of “I know that place” or “I’ve been there.” Today’s guest, Richard Podkowski, author of The Walk-On, revisits Chicago and shares his ties to the Windy City. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to say and add The Walk-On to your ever-increasing TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Podkowski, for joining us today and sharing your Chicago story. The blog is now all yours.

The Walk-On — a true Chicago story
by Richard Podkowski

In The Walk-On, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski is a blue-collar kid who grew up in the shadows of the Chicago steel mills, where hard-working immigrants poured molten steel 24/7 while smokestacks belched black smoke until they were shuttered in the mid-70s. The word steel in Polish is “stal” which is the root of the Steelman’s surname. Technically, my interpretation means he’s made of steel.

Chicago, one of the most diverse cities in the world, has many nicknames including Chi-town, City of Big Shoulders, Windy City, Second City, and oddly for most, the Third Coast. Although if you’ve ever been on the lakefront, you understand.

Many people have heard of the South, North, and West Sides. No East Side as you’d be in Lake Michigan. The city has over 200 distinct neighborhoods. You’ll find the Steelman in Hegewisch, Lincoln Park, Little Italy, Wrigleyville, and the Gold Coast. The long-standing North Side / South Side rivalry is real. One of my characters from the South Side mocks a friend from the North Side for not venturing farther south than Roosevelt Road. Technically, the dividing line is Madison Street. Ironically, both live in the western suburbs, which is another rivalry.

The South Side is known for being more blue-collar, and it definitely has some of the city’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods. Conversely, the white-collar North Side includes the bustling downtown area, with its well-known skyscrapers, lakefront recreation and residential high-rises, mansions, upscale eateries and shopping options, and numerous cultural destinations.

I am proud to have grown up on the South Side. We were certainly blue-collar, poor actually, and I lived in a tiny cottage bungalow. Like Stalowski, my parents were Polish immigrants who came to Chicago seeking a better life. My dad toiled in the South Side stockyards until he became a printer. My mother worked on a Westinghouse Corporation factory assembly line, alongside other Polish and Hispanic women. She didn’t speak good English, and she didn’t speak bad Spanish. They got along just fine.

I didn’t visit downtown until I was in 1st or 2nd grade and never dreamed I would one day attend Loyola University on the North Side lakefront. In all fairness, I confess that after becoming empty-nesters, my wife and I lived in East Lakeview and loved it. We walked everywhere: grocery store, gym, church, Wrigley Field, live theater, restaurants, Lincoln Park, and even to the glitzy Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Avenue. Can’t do that in the towns of area codes 708, 630, or 847.

The baseball rivalry is real too. The Cubs are the North Side heroes. The White Sox are their South Side rivals. Fortunately, the whole city roots for the Bulls, Blackhawks, and Chicago Bears. In The Walk-On, the city cheers for the fictional NFL Chicago Storm. As the book begins, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski, notorious hometown hero hailing from the South Side, has been a fan favorite for years.

I hope you’ll enjoy Mike’s escapades around Chicago — my beloved hometown.♦

THE WALK-ON by Richard Podkowski cover featuring a bluewashed woman's profile superimposed with the Chicago skyline at night and a male football playerThe Walk-On by Richard Podkowski
ISBN: 9798885280334 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9798215806234 (eBook)
ASIN: B0BTF6C5PX (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 315
Release Date: February 23, 2023
Publisher: Acorn Publishing LLC.
Genre: Fiction | Sports Fiction

In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game fueled by inner rage.

While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed, seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that culminates in a tragic series of events.

The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and hope.

Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | BookDepository.com | Kobo eBook

Meet the Author

Author Richard Podkowski photograph: a smiling white male wearing a dark gray suit and light-colored button-down dress shirt
Author – Richard Podkowski

Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago. As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and international financial crimes until he retired in 2003.

Richard’s projects include a Christmas romantic comedy screenplay and a crime story, both currently in the works. In his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.

Connect with the author via Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Website 

Giveaway

This is a giveaway for one (1) signed print copy of The Walk-On by Richard Podkowski + a small box of Frango Mints, courtesy of Wendy Koenig via Author Marketing Experts. This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. All entries by non-US/Canadian residents will be voided. To enter use the Rafflecopter link below or click here.

This giveaway begins at 12:01 AM ET on 03/15/2023 and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 03/21/2023. The winner will be announced by 10:00 AM ET on 03/22/2023. Void where prohibited.

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Guest Post: Ken Harris – A BAD BOUT OF THE YIPS

Good day, book people. As many of you know, I’m a very eclectic reader. I read fiction and nonfiction. I enjoy historical and contemporary fiction, romance and literary fiction, classic literature and popular fiction, true crime and police procedurals, and a little bit of everything in between. I’m constantly amazed at how, as a reader, I can suspend my belief with certain types of fiction, but not with others. Today’s guest is Ken Harris, author of A Bad Bout of the Yips, the third installment in the Steve Rockfish series. Mr. Harris will be discussing the suspension of belief (or reality) and writing believable crime fiction. I hope you’ll enjoy what he has to share and add A Bad Bout of the Yips to your TBR list. Thank you, Mr. Harris, for joining us today the blog is now all yours.

Trials & Tribulation of a 1970s Private Eye in the Modern World
by Ken Harris

After three books in a series, I’m often asked why I choose to model my protagonist Steve Rockfish after many of the 1970s television detectives. You know, Quincy, Columbo, Barnaby Jones, and Rockford. Four of my absolute favorites, by the way. I watched the Rockford Files with my dad and skipped class in college to catch Barnaby Jones reruns.

Again, why not only model but then transport to the current day? Why not create the character and keep him in the time frame in which that type of hard-nosed, hard-drinking and sarcastic private investigator excelled? Is it to give him the technology and tools of today used on shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, or NCIS? Actually, it’s the complete opposite.

Steve Rockfish uses his wits and sometimes muscles to solve his cases. He’s got ears out on the street, a bottle of Irish whiskey in his desk, and sarcasm for days. He’s not one to bang away on a laptop keyboard for three minutes and then exclaim he’s hacked seven different private servers, analyzed the data, and hits one last keystroke to display it all in a virtual 3D model floating above the conference table. That’s what his partner Jawnie McGee is for. But even she doesn’t stretch the imagination, causing the reader to suspend so much doubt as the investigative fiction television shows of today do.

See, I spent thirty-two years in an investigative and analytical role with the FBI. I can watch an episode of Criminal Minds and tell you the word UNSUB is hardly used to the extent they do (roughly 37 times per episode). I try to tell it like it is. Give my good guys the tools real investigators use on a day-to-day basis and not sprinkle any Hollywood make-believe dust between the words. I had friends that worked in BAU. On Criminal Minds you see them take off on their private jet to wherever the next case is. In actuality, they fly commercial. We actually spend your tax dollars diligently. On television, you’ll see someone issue a subpoena to a telecom company and get back actual text message content. Wrong. To get actual content and not only call data, that takes a search warrant signed by a judge. I watched a television show which shall remain nameless the other day with my wife. She likes it and I only judge her a little bit. Anyway, the computer expert in a matter of less than ten seconds hacks into a private security firm’s live feed of home security cameras. Of private homes. Right. Stuff like that drives me to drink, so I try my hardest to make my characters’ actions as true as possible. Does that sometimes maybe bore a reader? Sure, but I’ll draw them back in with the next paragraph. They won’t even remember it took various software programs and hours to perform analysis instead of fingers bashing a keyboard for thirty seconds and Voilà, Case Closed.

I like to think the case is about the investigative journey. While technology makes Steve Rockfish’s job easier at times, he still strongly feels guilty when he’s spending any extended time in the office, unless it’s accompanied by a rocks glass. Interaction with other characters is a necessity to drive the novel forward. I don’t have forty-three minutes, without commercials, to wrap up everything in a nice bow. Not to mention, sometimes the good guys don’t come out on top.

To close this ramble out, Steve Rockfish loves the new case management system Jawnie McGee installed in the office. He just wishes there was a way to tap the keyboard three times and have all the information entered. Data entry is old-school and time-consuming. He’d rather be out on the street knocking heads and collecting client checks. ♦

A Bad Bout of the Yips

by Ken Harris

March 6 – 31, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

A Bad Bout of the Yips by Ken Harris

PI Steve Rockfish’s morning meeting was supposed to focus on a case of straightforward harassment. Two clients had purchased a miniature golf course and instantly became victims of vandalism and projected intolerance.

But as the team investigates, a neighborhood’s bigoted knee-jerk reaction to a new sapphic-owned business, is, in fact, a laser-focused plan of intimidation. Before anyone can yell FORE!, violence litters the front nine after Rockfish uncovers the real perpetrator, their actual motive, and dangerous accomplices.

Soon, an old nemesis returns to raise the stakes with plans of revenge and domination. Now facing a battle on two fronts, Rockfish finds his allies thinning at the worst possible time, and recklessly goes on the offensive.

The back nine takes Rockfish and McGee on a frenetic ride from a corporate boardroom, across cyberspace, and to the 19th hole where a long overdue showdown will change everything for the partners, for better and worse.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Fiction
Published by: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: March 2023
Number of Pages: 356
ISBN10: 1685131530 (Paperback)
ISBN13: 9781685131531
ASIN: B0BTXGVVDD (Kindle edition)
Series: The Case Files of Steve Rockfish – 3
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned:   Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | BookDepository.com | BLACK ROSE WRITING

Author Bio:

Ken Harris

Ken Harris retired from the FBI, after thirty-two years, as a cybersecurity executive. With over three decades writing intelligence products for senior Government officials, Ken provides unique perspectives on the conventional fast-paced crime thriller. He is the author of the “From the Case Files of Steve Rockfish” series. He spends days with his wife Nicolita, and two Labradors, Shady and Chalupa Batman. Evenings are spent playing Walkabout Mini Golf and cheering on Philadelphia sports. Ken firmly believes Pink Floyd, Irish whiskey, and a Montecristo cigar are the only muses necessary. He is a native of New Jersey and currently resides in Virginia’s Northern Neck.

Catch Up With Ken Harris:
KenHarrisFiction.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @08025writes
Instagram – @kenharrisfiction
Twitter – @08025writes
Facebook – @kah623
Twitch – @kenharrisfiction

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Guest Post: Justin Newland – THE CORONATION

THE CORONATION by Justin Newland cover

The Coronation

by Justin Newland

March 6 – 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Good day, book people. I’ve recently been on a historical fiction reading kick, namely re-reading historical romance. One of the many things I enjoy learning is why the author chose this particular time period and/or what events prompted that specific story. I’m happy to welcome Justin Newland, author of the historical fiction novel, The Coronation, to the blog this morning. Mr. Newland will be sharing with us some of the historical events that influenced his novel. Thank you, Mr. Newland, for joining us today. The blog is now all yours.

Guest Post graphic featuring a stack of books above the words GUEST POST in a scripted font

The Coronation is my third novel. It’s a historical fiction adventure story with supernatural undertones.

What about the title? Well, a coronation is a powerful religious ceremony which culminates with the placing of a crown on the head of a sovereign. But in my novel, there is no such ceremony. No one is crowned, or are they? Or should they have been?

The root of the word coronation is corona. A corona is defined as the rarefied gaseous envelope that surrounds the sun. It’s an incredible sight, visible during a total solar eclipse.

Photo of solar coronaThe imagery of a corona is suggestive of a halo, a bright circle of fire that both graces and illuminates. A halo is a ring or disc of light that often appears in religious art surrounding or above a person’s head. It’s a mark of achievement in a genius or a saviour or a hero that indicates the person is capable of performing extraordinary acts of leadership or compassion.

Now The Coronation takes place in the 1760s during the period called the Great Enlightenment. It’s set against the backdrop of the Seven Years’ War, a conflict between the new burgeoning Protestant nation of Prussia – which as embryonic Germany – against the old established Catholic empires of Russia and Austria.

Black and white drawing/painting of James Watt
iwattja001p1

The 1760s was a turning point in human affairs. Because it was in that decade that a certain Scotsman by the name of James Watt made a discovery that significantly improved the efficiency of the steam engine. Until that time, there were no large cities, no mass migration, no mass consumption, no factories, and no industrialisation. Industry was located in the cottage and the barn, the mill and the brewery. People mostly lived in rural communities and so were close to the land and its natural cycles. Their lives were governed by the passage of the seasons, and people celebrated that simple communion with song and dance, prayer and thanksgiving, ceremony and pageant, just as their ancestors had done for centuries before.

James Watt’s discovery changed all that, because it marked the birth of the single most important event of modern times – the Industrial Revolution. It heralded an unprecedented and exponential increase in population. In the 1750s, the world population was estimated at 800 million people. Today, in 2023, it’s estimated at 8,000 million – a ten-fold increase.

THE CORONATION by Justin Newland coverNow if you read The Coronation, you’ll encounter a German word called zeitgeist or spirit of the times. It’s defined as an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history. Now some men and women are in tune with the zeitgeist, others are not. Perhaps those that are we call geniuses, saviours, or world leaders, people like Moses and the Buddha, Julius Caesar and Napoleon Buonaparte, Queen Elizabeth I and Marie Curie, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Either way, they are agents of significant change.

How does the zeitgeist work? What’s its mechanism? Well, it’s probably some sort of blueprint, in the way that there’s an architectural blueprint for the construction of a building, an outline plan to be followed with an end result in mind. If so, it suggests that the forces that come with the zeitgeist are designed to be used for a specific purpose, with a specific result.

The question that hovers like a Sword of Damocles is this: can that force be misused or misinterpreted? In our case, was James Watt’s discovery in tune with the spirit of the times or did it end up as a departure from some intended path for humanity? Was the invisible force of that epoch meant to get used to industrialise the whole world, or was it a blueprint for some other purpose?

To phrase the question another way, was James Watt’s discovery a brilliant spark of enlightenment – or coronation – for humanity or not?

To find out, you’ll have to read my novel. ♦

Synopsis:

The Coronation by Justin Newland

It is 1761. Prussia is at war with Russia and Austria. As the Russian army occupies East Prussia, King Frederick the Great and his men fight hard to win back their homeland.

In Ludwigshain, a Junker estate in East Prussia, Countess Marion von Adler celebrates an exceptional harvest. But this is soon requisitioned by Russian troops. When Marion tries to stop them, a Russian Captain strikes her. His Lieutenant, Ian Fermor, defends Marion’s honour, but is stabbed for his insubordination. Abandoned by the Russians, Fermor becomes a divisive figure on the estate.

Close to death, Fermor dreams of the Adler, a numinous eagle entity, whose territory extends across the lands of Northern Europe and which is mysteriously connected to the Enlightenment. What happens next will change the course of human history…

Book Details:

Genre: Secret History Thriller
Published by: Matador
Publication Date: November 2019
Number of Pages: 216
ISBN: 9781838591885
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books | Goodreads

Praise for The Coronation:

“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders, religion and war… all filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.”

A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog

“This wonderful historical fictional tale will hold your attention as the author weaves a storyline that has different creative plots, along with a spiritual message.”

Gwendalyn’s Books

“Some authors deposit their characters in the midst of history, showing how their lives parallel historic events. Then there are authors like Justin Newland who bend history to their will and use fantastic elements to show us what could have been.”

Jathan and Heather

“This was a wonderfully told story that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Baby Dolls and Razor Blades

The Coronation Trailer:

Author Bio:

Justin Newland

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

Catch Up With Our Author:
JustinNewland.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @justinnewland
Instagram – @drjustinnewland
Facebook – @justin.newland.author

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Guest Post: Laura Childs – LEMON CURD KILLER

Good day, book people. Do you find yourself reading books that are set in real cities or towns and reminiscing about the locations mentioned? If I’m reading a book set in Toronto Canada, Atlanta GA, Boston MA, Savannah GA, or Charleston WV and SC, I count the number of places I’ve been to and try to picture the action and setting in my head. I’ve got to admit, I even do this for cities I only have a passing acquaintance with like San Francisco CA, Detroit MI, New York NY, Washington DC, etc. I don’t know why, but reading descriptions of places I’ve been to and can vividly picture just brings something extra to the story. I’m pleased to welcome back to the blog, Laura Childs, author of Lemon Curd Killer, the latest release in one of my favorite series, the Tea Shop Mysteries. Ms. Childs will be sharing with us her thoughts on using location as a character. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to share, add Lemon Curd Killer to your TBR list, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and author, and don’t forget to enter the tour giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Childs, for taking time away from your writing to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Location as Character
by Laura Childs

When I first began writing my Tea Shop Mysteries, one of the things I immediately realized was that location can actually serve as its own unique character. Let me explain. Setting my Tea Shop Mysteries in Charleston, South Carolina gave me a lot to work with. First off, it’s an old city established way before the Revolutionary War. So that in itself means historic buildings, twisty narrow lanes, a lovely Historic District, and a genteel Southern pace. Really, the perfect setting for a Tea Shop Mystery.

Then, describing key elements such as the secretive Gateway Walk, the haunted St. Philips Cemetery, or the narrow and very private Stolls Alley ratchets up the suspense and helps my readers visualize where my characters exist in the story.

Setting can also elicit an emotional response. When I describe the Indigo Tea Shop using such terms as Rembrandt lighting, a quasi-British setting with a touch of country French, or pegged heart pine floors covered in faded Aubusson rugs, my readers tell me they can feel the relaxing and restorative nature of the setting.

Location as a character also adds greatly to the plot. It gives readers context on place, mood, and environment. This can be as simple as describing the fog rolling in off the Atlantic Ocean and giving Charleston’s antique streetlights a warm hazy glow. Or it could be more intricate, such as describing a wild chase down Gateway Walk where my protagonist rushes through the Governor Aiken Gates, hurries past the Gibbes Museum of Art, then dodges around statuary, stands of palmettos, and pattering fountains, finally ending up in a moss-shrouded cemetery complete with tilting tombstones right behind a centuries-old church.

Location also connects story elements. Dialogue is great for expressing conflict and other emotions, while plot is critical too. But when you feel as if you can actually see and touch something, when you can walk in my characters’ footsteps down a cobblestone alley and smell the fragrant magnolias, that’s the point where everything gets pulled together and a book becomes so much more real.

Thank you so much for reading this. And if you’re at all intrigued, my brand new Tea Shop Mystery, Lemon Curd Killer, has just been released. ♦

Lemon Curd Killer (A Tea Shop Mystery)
by Laura Childs

About Lemon Curd Killer

Lemon Curd Killer (A Tea Shop Mystery)

High tea and high fashion turn deadly in this latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea shop entrepreneur Theodosia Browning has been tapped to host a fancy Limón Tea in a genuine lemon orchard as a rousing kickoff to Charleston Fashion Week. But as fairy lights twinkle and the scent of lemon wafts among the tea tables, the deadly murder of a fashion designer puts the squeeze on things.

As the lemon curd begins to sour, the murdered woman’s daughter begs Theodosia to help find the killer. Tea events and fashion shows must go on, however, which puts Theodosia and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, right in the thick of squabbling business partners, crazed clothing designers, irate film producers, drug deals, and a disastrous Tea Trolley Tour.

INCLUDES DELICIOUS RECIPES AND TEA TIME TIPS!

Cozy Mystery
25th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
Berkley (March 7, 2023)
Hardcover: ‎ 320 pages
ISBN10: ‎ 0593200926
ISBN13: ‎ 9780593200926 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 9780593200933 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781705082508 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0BP9Y5L9Z (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: ‎ B0B3HQFB3N (Kindle edition)
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | PenguinRandomHouse 

About Laura Childs

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

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

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

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

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

Laura’s Links: Website | Facebook

TOUR PARTICIPANTS

March 6 – The Book Diva’s Reads – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 6 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
March 7 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
March 7 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – The Mystery of Writing – SPOTLIGHT
March 8 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW
March 9 – Literary Gold – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 9 – The Mystery Section – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT
March 10 – Nadaness In Motion – SPOTLIGHT (REVIEW)
March 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 11 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
March 12 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
March 12 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – I’m Into Books – SPOTLIGHT
March 13 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
March 14 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
March 14 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
March 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
March 16 – Baroness Book Trove – REVIEW
March 17 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
March 17 – Ascroft, eh? – AUTHOR GUEST POST
March 17 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
March 18 – #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee – SPOTLIGHT
March 19 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT

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Guest Post: Marlie Parker Wasserman – PATH OF PERIL

Good day, book people. I never realized how dedicated some of us are to fiction or nonfiction reading. I personally enjoy reading both fiction and nonfiction. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve become quite partial to fictional stories about real people. Skilled authors craft stories featuring historical figures and events in a fictionalized story. Please help me welcome Marlie Parker Wasserman, author of one such fictionalized story about a historical figure, Path of Peril. Ms. Wasserman is joining us today and discussing using Teddy Roosevelt as a character in her book. Grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s learn a bit more about Ms. Wasserman’s Teddy Roosevelt and Path of Peril. Thank you, Ms. Wasserman, for stopping by and sharing with us today.

Teddy Roosevelt, Yes, and Women Too
by Marlie Parker Wasserman

When I learned that the very first trip abroad by a sitting president was Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to the Panama Canal in 1906, I knew I had my topic. A fascinating president, a country most readers knew little about, and the prospect of imagined murder and mayhem—what more could I ask for? After a few months of research, I realized I had a major problem to solve before I could start to write. All the historic characters I spun my plot around were men.

The list of men went on and on. I would write about President Roosevelt, rushing from one site along the Canal to another, ignoring dangers. An unknown historic character, TR’s mild-mannered assistant secretary, would keep track of the official schedule and observe rampant inequalities. Three courageous secret service agents would protect the President from assassins.

In contrast, my previous novel told the story of a woman, the first woman executed in the electric chair, and most of my readers were women. Frankly, for marketing purposes, I needed women. But I also knew that women were hidden in the history of the Canal. Fortunately, in the last decade, historians have begun to unearth their tales. Digging deeper, I found what I needed.

My finished book starts off with men but quickly moves to the stories of women. The best known is Edith Roosevelt, TR’s second wife. Newspaper accounts report that she accompanied him on the trip to Panama, wearing the long white gown and white bonnet favored by wealthy women visiting the tropics. In the picture below, we see her standing on the back of a train, wearing a veil.

Sepia-toned photograph of old train, with several people in light-colored, early 20th-century clothing standing on the rear platform of the train.

I decided to imagine Edith’s thoughts during the four-day trip, as she sensed increasing dangers for her husband. She would be keenly aware that only five years before, the previous president, McKinley, had been assassinated. Edith had a counterpart on the trip. Maria Amador was Panama’s First Lady. The two sat together at dinners and crossed paths at receptions. What did Maria think about lovely, proper Edith? Did Maria know about assassins lurking in her country?

These first ladies were two of thousands of women who traveled to Panama. Many younger women came from Barbados and Jamaica to fill jobs as maids, cooks, fruit peddlers, and laundresses. Nurses and teachers came from the States. In the picture below, we see a group of newly trained teachers.

Black and white photograph of several young woman, wearing light-colored, early 20th-century clothing, sitting on a lawn with an old-fashioned school house in the background.

What we might call middle-class women accompanied their husbands—the engineers and officials responsible for digging the Canal. In addition, a small number of women were sex workers, either in well-appointed or squalid establishments. I enjoyed creating women in each of these categories, making sure that they drove some of the action.

The tale of the first presidential trip abroad does indeed center around men, but women stood all around that center, sustaining it and critiquing it. ♦

Path of Peril

by Marlie Parker Wasserman

February 27 – March 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Path of Peril by Marlie Parker Wasserman

Would the assassins plotting to kill Theodore Roosevelt on his visit to the Panama Canal succeed?

Until this trip, no president while in office had ever traveled abroad. White House secretary Maurice Latta, thrilled to accompany the President, could not anticipate the adventures and dangers ahead. Latta befriends watchful secret service agents, ambitious journalists, and anxious First Lady Edith Roosevelt on their hot and humid trip, where he observes a country teeming with inequalities and abounding in opportunities. Along the way he learns about his own strengths—what he never imagined he could do, and what he discovers he can’t do.

Theodore Roosevelt did visit Panama in 1906, accompanied by White House staffer Maurice Latta. Interweaving the stories of real-life characters with fictional ones, Path of Peril imagines what the newspapers feared to report and what historians never discovered about Roosevelt’s risky trip.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Crime Fiction
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2023
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781685122409 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781685122416 (eBook)
ASIN: B0BSXWCQ1F (Kindle edition)
Series: This is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | BookDepository.com | Kobo eBook | Goodreads

Praise for Path of Peril:

“Nothing better than settling down with a good, crisp, detail-rich assassination thriller. Someone is after Theodore Roosevelt, and author Marlie Wasserman tightens the screws, ratchets the tension, and twists the plot again and again. Read it.”

William Martin, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Lincoln Letter and December ’41

 

“A feast of characters, scenery, and history, Wasserman sets the table for a tremendous read. Path of Peril is a privileged walk with TR, his wife, his staff, and dozens of characters struggling to create one of the “greatest engineering feats of the century.”

Chris Keefer, author of No Comfort for the Undertaker, a Carrie Lisbon Mystery

 

Path of Peril is enjoyable and engaging and places the reader at the center of a fast, explosive, and intriguing plot—making this new book one that should not be missed.”

Mel Ayton, author of Plotting to Kill the President

 

“Wasserman’s Path of Peril gives readers an exciting leap back in time… Buy this book—you’ll love it!”

Michael Conniff, historian of Panama

Author Bio:

Marlie Parker Wasserman

Marlie Parker Wasserman continues to write historical crime fiction. Her first book, The Murderess Must Die, was published in 2021. After spending many years in New Jersey, she now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society.

Catch Up With Marlie Parker Wasserman:
www.MarlieWasserman.com
Goodreads
Instagram – @marliepwasserman
Twitter – @MarlieWasserman
Facebook

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Guest Post: Elizabeth Goddard – COLD LIGHT OF DAY

Cold Light of Day

by Elizabeth Goddard

February 20 – March 17, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Hello, my fellow book lovers. For those of you in the US, I hope you’re staying safe, warm, and dry during this recent cold front creeping across our country. Do you give a lot of thought to the setting of the books that you read? Some stories cry out for a big city setting, whether it’s a fictional or real city. Other stories are perfect in a small-town setting. Some readers consider the setting as vital as the characters and the action. Many authors seem to intuitively understand the importance of setting for their stories. Elizabeth Goddard, the author of Cold Light of Day and more, understands this concept. Ms. Goddard joins us today and discusses the impact of setting as a “force of nature” in her writings. I hope you’ll enjoy what she has to say and add Cold Light of Day to your TBR list. Thank you, Ms. Goddard, for taking the time to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

Force of Nature
by Elizabeth Goddard

Who doesn’t love a great view? Whether you’re looking out your living room window at a beautiful sunset or pulling over your car to take in a magnificent vista that lets you see for miles, the beauty of nature catches your attention. That’s why setting has always been an important starting point for my novels. In fact, setting is truly my inspiration for writing almost every story I’ve penned (Or typed out on a keyboard!). Once I’m inspired by a stunning location, then I discover the plot and the characters.

The best novels include strong multi-dimensional characters that we can’t forget. Their vitality and personality often drive the story as we cheer them on. We might refer to them as a “force of nature.” But nature itself can become a character in a story. A great location can be not only the backdrop for suspense and adventure, but, like the recent Publishers Weekly review of Cold Light of Day mentions, “The Alaskan wilderness is a character all its own.”

Years ago, I wrote a series set in Southeast Alaska and I loved those books so much, that I had been considering returning for another series. While researching for my book Deadly Target (Rocky Mountain Courage book 2) I came across a podcast about people missing in Alaska, and I knew that I wanted to write a series about the same. Cold Light of Day, (Missing in Alaska book 1), was born. I created the fictional town of Shadow Gap situated in a beautiful fjord, and I’ve tried to take advantage of all the amazing scenery and wildlife my setting could offer along the way—cold water diving and whale watching for example. I’ve also used the setting to put my characters in dangerous situations—over and over. Cold Light of Day is a mixture of romance, suspense, and adventure. Man versus man and man versus nature. That’s how I prefer to write my stories. As a reader, I also look for books with a strong interesting backdrop that can become a force of nature in the story. ♦

Synopsis:

Cold Light of Day by Elizabeth Goddard

Police Chief Autumn Long is fighting to keep her job in the quiet Alaska town of Shadow Gap when an unexpected string of criminal activity leaves her with a wounded officer, unexplained murders, and even an attack on her own father. Despite her mistrust of outsiders, she turns to Grier Brenner, a newcomer who seems to have the skills and training Autumn needs to face this threat to her community.

Grier is in Alaska for the same reason so many others are—to disappear—when Chief Long enlists his help. He emerges from the shadows and proves his mettle, but his presence in her life could be a deadly trap for them both. If his secret is exposed, all will be lost. And he’s not sure even Autumn could save him.

As the stakes rise and the dangers increase, Autumn and Grier must rely on each other to extinguish the deadly threats.

Book Details:

Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Revell
Publication Date: February 7, 2023
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN13: 9780800742041 (Paperback)
ISBN10: 0800742044 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781493439775 (eBook)
ISBN: 9781705083918 (Digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0BP9CQZPM (Audible Audiobook)
ASIN: B0B6Q6PXBQ (Kindle edition)
Series: Missing in Alaska, 1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audiobooks.com | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | B&N Audiobook | BookDepository.com | Downpour Audiobook | Kobo Audiobook | Kobo eBook | Goodreads | Baker Book House

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Goddard

Elizabeth Goddard is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of more than 50 novels, including Cold Light of Day and the Rocky Mountain Courage and Uncommon Justice series. Her books have sold nearly 1.5 million copies. She is a Carol Award and Reader’s Choice 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 her books, visit her website at www.ElizabethGoddard.com.

Catch Up With Elizabeth Goddard:
ElizabethGoddard.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @ElizabethGoddard
Instagram – @elizabethgoddardauthor
Twitter – @bethgoddard
Facebook – @ElizabethGoddardAuthor

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Guest Post: Bluette Matthey – HOMICIDE HERAULT

Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope you’re all finding lots of wonderful new-to-you books to read this year. I’m still in my re-rereading romance phase, apparently, but I’ve also read some amazing new-to-me suspense, mysteries, and noir. I enjoy re-reading quite a number of series (what can I say, I love re-reading!). I often wonder what inspires an author to write a duology, trilogy, or quadrilogy vs. a series. I’m incredibly honored to welcome back, Bluette Matthey, author of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, including the latest release, Homicide Hérault. Ms. Matthey will be sharing us with the motivation behind this series. I’m looking forward to learning more and adding Homicide Hérault to my TBR list. I hope you’ll enjoy what Ms. Matthey has to share. Thank you, Ms. Matthey, for taking time away from your travels and writings to join us today. The blog is now all yours.

Murder from A-to-Z
by Bluette Matthey

For my Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, I take a “boots on the ground” approach — I like to experience first-hand the locale where I set my books. My protagonist, Hardy Durkin, is a trek guide for more off-the-beaten paths in Europe, so I am obligated to check out the areas involving each mystery (someone’s got to do it). I have duplicated some of Hardy’s treks, but I am definitely not as fit as my protagonist.

I followed Hardy to the French island of Corsica, birthplace of Napoleon, for my first book, Corsican Justice. Corsica is a picturesque Mediterranean island of lush blooming bougainvillea, a stunning coastline with lots of hidden beaches and coves, and gangsters. (Don’t let anyone tell you the Corsican mob doesn’t exist.)

My second book, Abruzzo Intrigue, found me climbing the highest fortress in the Italian Apennines, Rocca Calascio, built by the Romans in the 10th century. I also hiked into an ancient hermitage in the Majella National Park, with no cell phone signal or other sign of human life in an environment home to wolves, bears, and other wild beasts.

Black Forest Reckoning mandated a trip to Germany and the Alsace area of France, with a stop in the exclusive spa town of Baden-Baden for an all-day thermal spa treatment. One of Hardy’s hiking tour clients spent a day taking the waters, and I felt it essential to do so, as well.

Dalmatian Traffick required a trip to the Balkans, specifically Croatia, Albania, and mysterious Montenegro. (They post road signs in Montenegro warning of wild boar crossings!) I didn’t hike to the remote Ostrog Monastery, but took my life in my hands, literally, and drove there. Mostly one very narrow lane, snaking up the mountain of Ostroška Greda with the mountain wall on one side and a drop-off that increased at an alarming rate on the other, and no guard rails, anywhere. Perhaps a row of rather insignificant rocks placed beside the road, or an occasional tree, but nothing substantial to keep you from plummeting over the edge into eternity. I got the impression that driving is a blood sport in Montenegro.

Engadine Aerie, set in the Engadine Valley in Switzerland, featured a visit to the annual Engadine Skimarathon (a marathon for cross-country skiers) in ritzy St. Moritz. I also explored the ancient traboules of Lyon, France, stepping back into the era of the Knights Templar, the warrior monks who claimed Lyon as their financial center. The Knights Templar played a role in settling Switzerland, which may explain why that country is one large bank.

I live in the small city of Béziers in the Hérault region of France, which is the locale for my latest Hardy Durkin mystery, Homicide Hérault. Depending on who you ask, Béziers is the oldest city in France and a fascinating blend of history, culture, and food, as well as a great place for a mystery or two.

My goal is to write a Hardy Durkin mystery for each letter of the alphabet. Thus far, I’ve completed A, B, C, D, E, and H. F and G are on hold. I have twenty more mysteries to write, set in singular locations in Europe and slightly beyond. In the words of poet Robert Frost: “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.” ♦

Homicide Hérault

by Bluette Matthey

February 6 – March 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

Homicide Herault by Bluette Matthey

Veteran trekker Hardy Durkin takes his first bike tour group to Béziers, in the South of France, for what is expected to be relaxing, uneventful bicycling in the Hérault region. This notion is kicked to the curb when a double cold-case with present-day repercussions is discovered on one of the group’s outings. Hardy becomes embroiled in another homicide when he is present at a murder that takes place during an innocent flamenco performance that is anything but.

The bottom line: murder and intrigue follow Hardy Durkin like a shadow, even in the sunny, laid-back South of France, but this time his wheel of fortune veers uncomfortably off the rails in Homicide Hérault.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Blue Shutter Publishing
Publication Date: December 2022
Number of Pages: 199
ISBN: 9781941611227 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781941611203 (eBook)
ASIN: B0BR47S8HQ (Amazon Kindle)
Series: Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery Series Book 6 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Bookshop.org | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Barnes and Noble | B&N eBook | BookDepository.com | Kobo eBook | Goodreads | Smashwords

Author Bio:

Bluette Matthey

Bluette Matthey is a 3rd generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she keeps a mystery to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette particularly loves to explore regions that are not on the “15 days in Europe” itineraries. She also enjoys little-known discoveries, such as the London Walks, in well-known areas. She firmly believes that walking and hiking bring her closer to the real life of any locale. Bluette maintains a list of hikes and pilgrimages throughout Europe for future exploration.

Bluette is the author of the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series, author and developer of the South-of-France travel app, Potty Poche, and her latest mystery, Two Murders Too Many. She lives in Béziers in the South of France, with her husband and trio of loving cats.

Catch Up With Bluette Matthey:
www.BluetteMatthey.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @notyourusualtrek
Instagram – @notyourusualtrek
Twitter – @HardyDurkin
Facebook

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Guest Post: Justin M. Kiska – FACT & FICTION

Fact & Fiction

by Justin M. Kiska

February 13 – March 10, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Greetings, book people. I hope all of you are doing well and getting some reading in. I’ve got to admit, I’m a very curious reader. I wonder why that setting, why that specific time, how did the author choose those names, and more. The biggest question that seems to pop into my head is what pushed this person to write? Today’s guest may not answer all of the questions I have, but he does answer the big one about becoming a writer. Please help me welcome Justin Kiska, author of Fact & Fiction. Thank you, Mr. Kiska, for taking time away from your obviously busy schedule to join us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.

How In The World Did I Become A Mystery Writer?
by Justin Kiska

I’ve been asked that question a lot. In fact, I’ve asked myself that question because I would have never thought I’d have one mystery on bookstore shelves, let alone three with another three on the way! So, let’s back up a bit.

Technically, I’ve been writing mysteries for almost twenty years. As a theatre producer in my daily life, I have been producing interactive murder mystery events since 2005. These have always been funny mysteries with over-the-top characters. And while the characters in these mysteries were always developed with thorough backstories to give the actors something to work with, they were all just outlines. I never wrote a full mystery from beginning to end with all of the details like you have in a novel. In total, I have over fifty different interactive mysteries like this in my Marquee Mysteries Series.

Several years ago, one of the mysteries spoofed famous mystery writers. It was a lot of fun. As props, the actors each had mock-ups of their character’s latest book. When creating props, I always put a lot of detail into them, so the mock-ups had full synopsizes of the books on the back covers. As the actors were reading the blurbs, they were all saying how they’d really like to read those books if they were real.

The question then became, why not try writing an actual novel?

That’s what I did. For the next couple of years, I worked on what became Now & Then, the first book in my Parker City Mysteries Series from Level Best Books. I’d had the idea for it rattling around in my head for a while, but again, writing full mysteries wasn’t something I did. Once it was finished and a publisher was going to publish it, I was thrilled. I didn’t expect them to come back and offer me a three-book deal! But I’m glad they did because I’ve had so much fun writing the first three books in the series. And this past summer, they extended my contract and asked for another three. So, there are still a lot of mysteries to be solved in Parker City over the next few years. And there’s even a chance some of the characters I created in my interactive mysteries may show up from time-to-time bringing everything full circle.

For now, I’m off to devise another clever way to kill someone . . . for my mysteries! ♦

Synopsis:

Fact & Fiction by Justin M. Kiska

Parker City, Autumn 1984…

As the leaves begin to change colors and the weather starts turning cooler in the historic city in the heart of Western Maryland, Parker City Police Detectives Ben Winters and Tommy Mason are called to Saint Paul’s where the recently installed Father Roland Taylor, who has become very popular in the community, has been found dead in his office at the church. By all appearances, it seems to be a tragic case of a break-in gone wrong.

Only twenty-four hours later, the detectives find themselves at the home of the city’s well-known morning radio show DJ, Morning Mike Moran, who also seems to have been the victim of a robbery gone wrong. Coincidence?

Neither Ben nor Tommy believe in coincidences. But at first glance, it seems to be just that. Until they find that the victims shared a common interest and begin an investigation that leads them to uncover a secret Parker City has been hiding for over one hundred and twenty years.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: February 2023
Number of Pages: 330
ASIN: ‎ B0BT373DNG (Kindle edition)
Series: Parker City Mysteries, Book 3 | Each is a Stand Alone
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon

Author Bio:

Justin M. Kiska

When not sitting in his library devising new and clever ways to kill people (for his mysteries), Justin can usually be found at The Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre, outside of Washington, DC, where he is one of the owners and producers. In addition to writing the Parker City Mysteries Series – which includes, NOW & THEN, VICE & VIRTUE, and FACT & FICTION – he is also the mastermind behind Marquee Mysteries, a series of interactive mystery events he has been writing and producing for over fifteen years. Justin and his wife, Jessica, live along Lake Linganore outside of Frederick, Maryland.

Catch Up With Our Author:
JustinKiska.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @JMKiska
Instagram – @JMKiska
Twitter – @JustinKiska
Facebook – @JMKiska

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Guest Post: Lynn Chandler Willis – WHAT THE MONKEY SAW

Good day, my bookish peeps. I don’t make resolutions per se at the beginning of each year, but I hope to make each year a year filled with new-to-me reads rather than re-reading. Of course, this doesn’t happen because I love re-reading my favorite authors and series. Nonetheless, the hope persists that maybe next year will be the year. I’m pleased to welcome Lynn Chandler Willis, author of What the Monkey Saw to the blog today. Ms. Willis will be sharing her thoughts on giving up on our dreams. Thank you, Ms. Willis, for taking the time to join us today and share your thoughts. The blog is now all yours.

Giving Up the Dream
by Lynn Chandler Willis

Once upon a time, I had this dream. Fantasy. Whatever you want to call it. But with every dream comes realization. And that dream’s time has come. It’s time. I’ve “played” at it too long. With all this “new year, new beginnings” crap, I figured it was the right time. I just don’t have it in me anymore.

I’m giving up the dream.

I vowed, pledged, and resolved this week to let it go and be done with it. To stop obsessing about what others will think. So I failed. It wasn’t the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

But I didn’t really fail…I just discovered something about myself I had no idea existed. I don’t like to be cold. And how am I going to climb Mt. Everest if the mere thought of shivering makes me, well, shiver?

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by all things cold. March of the Penguins is one of my favorite movies. And let’s not forget Fargo. I’m mesmerized at seeing someone’s breath float up around them like smoke from a chimney. 40 below…my blood’s pumping. 60 below…I’m giddy. The vast whiteness of ice and snow can, well, take my breath away.

Then I became interested in climbing…mountains. A good hike, on a level trail, is about all I can muster but I like to think I’m in training for the biggie. The grand dame herself…Everest.

When the interest first overtook me, I read everything I could get my hands on about that mountain. I watched the short-lived show on the Discovery channel, which led to more reading and the discovery some bad things happen on that mountain. I read everything I could about Nepal and Tibet and base zones and base camps. I even have a book on training to climb the mega mountain. I’d have to learn to breathe better through my nose. And there’s that whole altitude adjustment thing. And my sister offered no encouragement by saying cruel things like “You’re scared to death of heights. How are you going to climb Mt. Everest being scared of heights?” She obviously didn’t understand the dream. Or my fear. It wasn’t that I was scared of the actual height, or even scared of possibly falling. It was the landing after the fall that scared me.

Photo of Mount Everest - large snow covered mountainsDidn’t matter. I was going to climb Everest. Or at least hang out at Base Camp #1 for a few days. I even had a picture of the mountain pinned to my board at my desk with Franklin Coveyish words of encouragement about following your dream and reaching for the stars.

The dream started dissolving, or slowly slipping away when I suffered through the flu. The last time I had the flu, I was hit with that dreaded flu symptom…violent chills. The kind where all the socks and sweatshirts in the world aren’t going to cure. The kind where you know if you could just get out of bed and turn the heat up a notch and grab another blanket, you’ll be fine, but you can’t muster the courage to climb out from under the mound of blankets you’re already under because you’re soooooo coooooooold!

Yeah. I discovered I don’t really like being cold. Not that cold anyway. So I’m giving up the dream of climbing Everest. Or hanging out at Base Camp #1. I thought I’d be sad, giving up a dream and all. I’m not. I’m nice and warm. ♦

What the Monkey Saw

by Lynn Chandler Willis

January 30 – February 24, 2023 Virtual Book Tour

Synopsis:

What the Monkey Saw by Lynn Chandler Willis

When F.B.I. agent Emily Gayle’s partner is brutally murdered, Emily forsakes her career at the bureau and returns home to the North Carolina mountains to care for her disabled father. Guilt ridden over leaving her partner alone to die, Emily takes a job as an end-of-life caregiver.

Deep in Appalachia, Jude Courtland is desperate for a fast buck to pay for his grandmother’s chemotherapy. Together with his brother Crispin and cousin, Devo, the trio takes to hijacking insulin delivery vans and selling the stolen drugs on the black market. When Emily is assigned to cancer patient Hazel Courtland, the line separating right and wrong begins to blur.

As the hijackings escalate and turn violent, Emily’s intuition hones in on startling evidence she can no longer ignore.

Struggling with the truth, Emily is torn between her conscience and her loyalty to a dying woman. With her own life in jeopardy, Emily’s forced to take a side. Right or wrong, the consequences are deadly.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime/Suspense
Published by: Level Best Books
Publication Date: January 2023
Number of Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-1-68512-220-1 (ASIN: B0BMCSK8KG)
Series: The Death Doula Series, Book 1
Book Links: Amazon

Praise for What the Monkey Saw:

A stunning portrait of small-town southern crime where characters walk a moral tightrope and risk everything to do what they believe is right. Emily Gayle, who watches people die for a living, is caught up in a drug theft ring and if she’s not careful, death will come for her. With breakneck pacing, you’ll want to devour What the Monkey Saw in one sitting, but don’t—this is one you’ll want to savor. Highly recommended series debut for fans of S.A Cosby, Joe Landsdale, and James Lee Burke.”

James L’Etoile, Award-winning author of Black Label, Dead Drop, and the Detective Penley series

This tale, ripe and deep with the Appalachian experience, makes us feel sorry for the bad guys and better understand how some people make ends meet to get by. The struggle of living is real. The crime is ugly in some ways and needed in others. Combine all this with Emily Gayle’s deep-seeded struggle to overcome her trauma and reluctance to use her investigative prowess and you have a solid, multi-layered, intriguing mystery that still warms your heart, even amidst the hardness of Appalachian living.”

C. Hope Clark, award-winning author of The Edisto Island Mysteries, The Carolina Slade Mysteries, and The Craven County Mysteries

As in the best crime fiction, Lynn Chandler Willis’s What the Monkey Saw is about far more than the crimes committed, in this case, the hijacking of insulin deliveries in Appalachia. Through the plot of a heist novel, Willis demonstrates how some people respond to the twin pressures of poverty and illness by breaking the law, and she accomplishes this without either glamorizing the crimes or condescending to her characters. Ultimately, What the Monkey Saw stands out as an exploration of death and dying, and how we react to both: the avoidance, the denial of loss, and the acceptance and grief that wash over us like mountain rain, either drowning us or bringing the promise of brighter days just over the next ridge.”

Christopher Swann, 2022 Georgia Author of the Year (Detective/Mystery), Author of Never Go Home, A Fire in the Night, and Never Turn Back

“From the very first pages you’ll sense that this is something truly special not only a suspenseful story, but one that represents the triumph of the human spirit to survive hardship and confront the inevitable end. A must read!”

Lawrence Kelter, International bestselling author of the Stephanie Chalice Mystery Series

Author Bio:

Lynn Chandler Willis

Lynn Chandler Willis is a best-selling, multi-award-winning author who has worked in the corporate world, the television news industry, and had a thirteen-year run as the owner and publisher of a small-town newspaper. She lives in the heart of North Carolina on a mini-farm surrounded by chickens, turkeys, ducks, nine grandkids, a sassy little calico named Jingles, and Finn, a brown border collie known to be the best dog in the world. Seriously.

Catch Up With Lynn Chandler Willis:
LynnChandlerWillis.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @lynn361
Instagram – @lynnchandlerwillis_author
Twitter – @LynnCWillis
Facebook – @lynnchandlerwillis.author

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